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  1. #111
    I came in like a wrecking ball... [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    Mar 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Autumn Skwovet View Post

    Just wow, those battles were AMAZING! I can't even pick which one I enjoyed the most out of the six from the sheer number of clever surprises each of them had in store and how absolutely nothing went down how I thought it would (again, the big selling charm of this story is how fun it is to read and how it constantly keeps the reader guessing). I mean heck, I was even figuring some of the interns might lose their battles, especially Chris given his anger could have easily made him lose focus or make reckless decisions when faced with frustration, but he pulled it off, too! And I like the way Jon strategizes outside of the battles to mislead his opponents to play right into his hands. It's very clever and while some would find it devious, it's still totally legal and very effective! Thanks for the life lesson, Jon!

    And yeah, I'm impressed with the way you cook up these strategies not just for the Jon and the interns, but for their opponents and how what could have worked for their adversaries against other opponents just doesn't make the winning stride against all of the training and resourcefulness Eon Academy's best put into the arena. A lot of creative care when into that and it definitely shines in these thrilling battles! And yes, it was very, very satisfying to see Jon and the interns give Camilla's ego and haughtiness the PULVERIZING BEATDOWN it deserved. >:3

    Absolutely fantastic way to conclude Episode 3. And yes, you gotta love Victini's spunk out there. You go, dude!

    Funnily enough when I was planning the battles and how each person would win ages ago, half the ideas were from watching Initial D, a drift racing anime.

    Justin's tactic was inspired by a win where during the practise runs and the first three quarters of the race Takumi (the protagonist) didn't let his engine rev past 7000rpm, when really it could rev up to 11,000, and using that difference only when it would win him the race.

    Charlotte's battle was inspired by a race where the challenger was racing on a course not his home course, however the mountain that was his home course was only one way roads; one going up the mountain and the other going down, unlike the standard single two way road. As such, when he raced on two way roads, and the corner around the mountain went to the right, he'd take the corner wider, to account for the possibility of a car coming up the mountain in the opposite direction, allowing the person he was racing, who was more experienced and knew a car wouldn't be coming around, to take the win.

    I had another tactic in mind planned for Abbee and Victini, effectively creating a long drawn out match and waiting for the perfect opportunity to end it, however it didn't suit the matchup (Victini vs Shaymin) so decided to use some nostalgia from S.S. Wishmaker to up the stakes of it, as well as show Victini's own strength growing.

    As for Jon's, my original plan wasn't to have him beat Camilla with just Blaziken, however I was sold on the tactic against Suicine and it was going to be near impossible for Camilla to counter it any different. Whilst I could have had Raichu or Skarmory finish Blaziken, the rest of the match would have been too easy and low stakes. So I'm glad it worked out that way.

    I spent far too long finding a Pokemon that has low enough defence and HP that Blaziken could beat it with a single quick attack, that also knew Quick Attack itself to make that work.

    In terms of planning, it has become much more meticulous than when I started. Season 1 it was writing as I went. Now, it is two to three stages. First is writing the battle roughly speaking, with major moves referenced. Then it is written turn by turn using Showdown's Damage calculator to keep it realistic, then actually written into the story.

    Funnily enough half the reason I am having them do as well as they are is Willows observations from Spiritwater, about the fame and renown of the Academy. I had only just started season 2 when you posted that and I was like "okay I have until Spiritwater to make them huge".

    Speaking of Spiritwater, there are some things that have happened in that that haven't happened yet, so you may be able to figure out what the Epilogues for Season 4 may be... Planning for the first is done. Now I just need a moment to write...

  2. #112
    I came in like a wrecking ball... [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    Mar 2013
    Melbourne Australia
    Season 3 Epilogue 1: Nightmares

    Chapter 1
    Dylan watched in nervous anticipation when the limousine containing his Eon Academy classmates and teacher drove off, leaving him to stand alone at the empty bus stop, on the edge of Jubilife City.

    Not even five hours earlier, Dylan had battled against Brad Jenkins, one of the top five students of the prestigious College of the North Wind. Despite the disadvantage he faced, being the only trainer involved in the challenge without a Legendary Pokemon at his disposal, Dylan was surprised at how at peace with the situation he felt, instead of the sheer panic at the thought of battling a potential future Elite Four or Champion, being broadcasted all over world. Right up until he spoke to Brad before the battle, he had thought this was due to the other things on his mind. Meeting his biological father afterwards, and finding out whether or not he was likely to have inherited his mothers illness which resulted in her premature deafness.

    However, when he had the idea to suggest a double battle, and approached Brad with it, he realised for the first time, his peace wasn’t simply the concern being put into perspective by larger, more worrying things, but real confidence that he had what it took to win. And whilst all of his classmates, even Chris, had faith that he would win, his win against Brad was the biggest shock to all of them, only being succeeded by Jon’s win against Camilla. Almost as shocking was Brad’s turnaround in attitude, having grown to respect Dylan after losing to him, even making a point of giving Dylan a contact number so they could get a beer next time he visited Sinnoh.

    It was five in the afternoon, and while it was getting late in the day, the sun would not be setting for another two or so hours. It slowly lowered into the sky on the western horizon, whilst Dylan looked to the east, waiting for the bus that would take him on the next stage of his journey.

    It was another twenty minutes before the bus arrived, which would take him west for roughly an hour and a half, before a ferry would take him across the wide channel that cut through from the northern end of Route 218, and finally, another bus, which would take him into Canalave City. It would be nearly eleven in the evening when Dylan finally arrived at Brent’s house in the south-western section of Canalave City, and while Dylan had offered to find a hotel in Jubilife and come in the morning, Brent had opposed the idea. He told Dylan he had two kids, and wanted some time to speak to Dylan himself before they met. Additionally, he had work the next day, and wouldn’t be able to use that time. Dylan arriving late was actually more convenient, giving him an hour to get acquainted with him, and settle him into a spare room, before the next morning, when proper introductions would be made.

    The bus ride was spent in relative silence. He plugged some earbuds into his phone, and watched the recording of the broadcast of his own battle, having seen it from where he stood, but curious to see what those watching from elsewhere saw, and was shocked at just how well the cameras and the expertly piloted drones captured the action, even enhancing it and making the whole battle seem to have much higher stakes than it already did. Meanwhile Dylan, whilst liking his privacy, much like Jon did during his early years of competing, couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride at the comments expressing shock that of all the Eon Academy interns, he was the one they had heard least of. He was also surprised to find a message on Facebook from Isabelle, the waitress he had turned down two months earlier, after Abbee had attempted to set them up.

    ”You need to stop being so humble,” Isabelle had said. ”Everyone did great, but you did the best. No funny business, but buy me a drink and tell me all about it when you’re back in Mossdeep…”

    The thing Dylan wasn’t ready for however, was the sheer amount of followers he received on Instagram. Whilst Justin and Abbee still had much more, by the time he got off the bus at the ferry depot, his follower count had reached half that of Chris and Charlotte’s.

    ”I’m not quite sure how I feel about all this,” Dylan wrote in his message, before pressing send, enclosing a screenshot of his Instagram notifications, showing all the new followers.

    There was a buzz, as a reply was received.

    ”It was the same for me when I got Instagram,” Abbee replied. ”Dad posted one photo of us together, and had a few hundred people follow me. Then when I competed for the first time, it blew up. I still feel strange, knowing so many people could just recognize me on the street, even though I have no idea who they are…”

    ”Sounds like a nightmare,” Dylan answered back.

    ”Depends on how you look at it,” Abbee replied. ”Wait until you need a table at a fancy restaurant that’s booked out, or something like that. It will have its perks eventually…”

    ”As long as I don’t end up being asked to do commercials…”

    He had messaged Abbee to pass the time, who by this point had arrived with Charlotte at her house and was staying the night there, resting, before returning to Goldenrod City the next day, although the rest was more an excuse to not be on the same flight as Chris. Whilst she did want to reconcile with him, and be friends like they were before they dated, she didn’t trust Chris to not cause a scene, like he had made a habit of doing since their breakup, albeit with other people, largely Dylan. It was one thing causing a scene at the Academy, where she had Jon and her friends to have her back. On a plane surrounded by strangers who were likely to recognise her was another matter. The ferry moved peacefully through the channel as the sun came down over the western horizon, bringing darkness with it, and the sun had completely sunk past it when he finally stepped off the ferry, before waiting for the bus that would take him into Canalave City.

    The final bus would take him to Canalave Gym, which would be well and truly closed by the time he arrived, however Brent’s house was a twenty minute walk from the gym, and with how few buses were operating that time of night, it would be faster to walk than wait for a bus. Brent had offered to come pick him up, however Dylan declined, figuring if Brent had kids who were asleep, he didn’t want Brent to leave them at home by themselves on account of him, even if for half an hour.

    It was half past ten in the evening when Dylan stepped off the bus outside Canalave City Gym. Whilst he had tried to take in the surroundings of the city, it had proved difficult. There was no visible moon in the sky, providing next to no light, and whilst there were street lights, it was late enough that the main roads of the city had little to no traffic, with Dylan being one of three passengers on the bus. This meant it drove largely at the speed limit, making few stops, and giving Dylan little chance to take in his surroundings. He knew Brent would be working the next day, and instead of spending his entire day waiting in an unfamiliar empty house, he’d rather take in the city itself. Especially if he decided he wanted to come back here at some point.

    He walked along the dimly lit streets, the only other pedestrian he saw being a homeless man, who sat against the side of a building under a blanket, slumped over and seemingly asleep. Given the fact that between his deciding to leave Bill’s house, and Jon offering for him to stay at the Academy, he had questioned where he would live and how he would get the finances to find his own place, he looked for some sort of cup containing change that he could add to, however couldn’t find one, before kicking himself for how dense he was being. If the man had a cup he was collecting change in, he wouldn’t risk leaving it out in the open whilst he slept. It was probably under the security of his blanket. Dylan made a mental note to leave him some change the next time he saw him.

    Shortly before eleven, Dylan found himself standing in front of the one house on the street that had its front light still on, seemingly waiting for him. The house itself was impressive, reminding Dylan of the cliche’d family home shown in the movies, which anyone with a vague idea of the economy would know instantly was not affordable given the residents middle class job. The house itself seemed to back onto the canal that split the city into the eastern and western sides.

    Dylan made his way to the door, taking a breath, before knocking lightly, not wanting to wake Brent’s kids. His siblings…

    He was thinking about the fact that he had never thought he had siblings, when Brent opened the door. Dylan looked in slight disbelief at the man that he now knew to be his biological father. Someone that was a mystery until very recently, and he had actually given up on ever meeting.

    Brent was Dylan’s match in height, something that wasn’t overly common, and had hair the same shade of brown as Dylan’s, and just as thick, albeit shorter and neater. His eyes were the same colour as Dylan’s, though unlike Dylan, he didn’t stand with a slouch, instead holding himself with his back straight.

    “Dylan,” Brent said, sounding somewhat in shock himself. “It’s great to see you…”

    “Yeah, you too,” Dylan replied awkwardly, not sure how he expected this to play out.

    “Come in,” Brent said. “Cody and Chelsea are asleep upstairs, but they aren’t the sort to wake easily, so you don’t have to be too careful…”

    Dylan nodded, stepping through the front door, carrying his suitcase behind him, as Brent shut the door behind him, flicking off the front light as he did so.

    The front door entered into a large hallway, with stairs on the right hand side, going up to the second floor, where Dylan presumed the bedrooms and bathrooms were. The house itself seemed lived in. A set of keys sat on the set of draws on the left of the hall, a few inches away from the bowl that Dylan presumed was where they were supposed to be. A school bag sat on the floor by the bottom step, as did a pair of child's shoes, which Dylan presumed were taken off and dropped there in a rush to go upstairs after school finished.

    “Sorry about the mess,” Brent said, seeming to read Dylan’s mind. “I start my shifts after the kids are at school, and usually my brother will bring them home and mind them until I come home. It keeps me busy-”

    “It’s fine,” Dylan said, looking around in slight awe. He couldn’t help but think this was the life he could have had, granted knew how unlikely that actually was, given what he knew about his parents relationship, or lack thereof.

    Brent directed him through the door on their left, which was a living room, and from there, towards the back of the house into the kitchen. A small table had been cleared, as Brent gestured towards one of the seats.

    “Can I get you a drink?” Brent asked. Dylan considered asking for water, however after spending as much time as he had with Jon…

    “Would it be too much to ask for a beer?”

    Brent couldn’t help but grin.

    “I was hoping you’d ask…”

    Brent opened the fridge, grabbing two glass bottles, and using a magnetic bottle-opener that was stuck to the fridge to remove both caps, before passing one to Dylan, and sitting down himself, taking a sip. There was an awkward silence before Brent decided to proceed.

    “So until you reached out, I didn’t know I had another son,” Brent explained. “I had seen you briefly on the news after the Deoxys incident, and figured you were related to Nicole, but didn’t know whether or not you were mine…”

    Dylan nodded, Brent having mentioned this before in an email he had sent Dylan.

    “I guess what I want to know is what’s life been like for you?”

    Dylan considered the question. It wasn’t overall a happy answer. However, Brent asked, and probably figured that there was every chance that was the case when he did so.

    “Difficult, if I’m being honest,” Dylan explained. “Mum never told me who you were. I just grew up seeing other kids with both a mum and dad, even if they weren’t together, or one of them wasn’t around, and I knew that I just had a mum. Any time I’d bring it up, she’d dodge the question, and eventually I realised there was no point asking, so I gave up…”

    Brent nodded, understanding.

    “When I was a kid, she met this guy Bill, and they got married pretty quickly. I don’t remember much of it. He was nice at first, but looking back, I think he was only really doing that to keep Mum happy,” Dylan continued. “Then when I was about ten or eleven, she left…”

    “So you and her moved somewhere else?” Brent asked, as Dylan shook his head.

    “She left. She left me with Bill, and I didn’t know where or why,” Dylan said, as Brent’s expression dropped, starting to realise what Dylan’s upbringing had been like. “I get the feeling that she was the sort of person who struggled being tied down to anything. She wanted the freedom to be able to go wherever she wanted, and do whatever she wanted, and being with Bill and I just tied her down too much…”

    “Still, that isn’t right…” Brent said with a sigh. “I know it’s easy for me to say this now, but if she had have told me we had a kid, I would have rather take you in myself than leave you with Bill…”

    Dylan tried not to dwell on it. Whilst he still felt uncomfortable thinking about his time living with Bill, he knew he wouldn’t be in the place he was in now if what Brent had said had actually come to pass.

    “Bill didn’t take it well. He was angry that Mum left him, and he was stuck looking after her kid. At first, he didn’t say it, or let on, but eventually it turned from dirty looks that he didn’t think I’d notice, to the odd remark, and eventually just putting discrepancy to the wind, and outright saying it. He started drinking more, and eventually he started hitting me,” Dylan said, as Brent let out another sad sigh, wishing he had known about all this. “When I was about thirteen, I begged the nearby Pokefood shop for work. I was too young for the guy who owned it to give me a proper job, but he gave me odd jobs like dropping off fliers, and helped me find some more work like that. Looking back, I think he had a hunch things weren’t great at home, and tried to help me out. I’d save my money, and go on whatever summer camps I could afford that would get me far away from home for the longest amount of time. I’d work to do that and not have to be at home, and spend as much time as I could at the trainer school for the same reason…”

    “Is that when you took an interest in battling?” Brent asked. Dylan shook his head and couldn’t help but grin.

    “Not really,” Dylan explained. “I found I enjoyed being around Pokemon, but wasn’t really that good of a battler. I needed more Pokemon, so when I’d travel to summer camps around Hoenn, I’d try and catch a new Pokemon to add to my team. When I was fifteen, I got an actual job at the store, and worked there until the summer I turned eighteen. The Eon Academy had just opened, and even though I wasn’t a good battler, I was interested in taking care of Pokemon, and thought I might be able to learn a little more about that if I went there over summer…”

    “Obviously it turned out to be a good fit…”

    Dylan couldn’t help but grin.

    “I turned eighteen during the summer, and Bill sent a message, asking if I could come home for dinner on my birthday. My friend Abbee saw the message, and convinced me to go. Her dad had just died, and I felt bad letting her think I was taking my own family for granted when she’d just lost her dad, so I went,” Dylan said, still remembering that night vividly. “It turned out that he just wanted me there to drink with him, and to have someone he could talk s**t about Mum to, and when I had enough of it, and stood up to him, he gave me this…”

    Dylan pulled away his collar, revealing the scar on his collarbone from where the can Bill had thrown had hit him. Brent’s eyes widened at the sight of it.

    “I left, and when I got back to the Academy, Abbee saw the bruise and figured out what happened. She told Jon, who went and talked to my old boss at the Pokefood shop, before telling me he was going to report it, and helped me to talk to the police about it, to get an intervention order out against him,” Dylan explained. “He offered me a job at the Academy once summer was over, since I was an adult at that point and he needed some extra help, and I’ve stayed there since…”

    “Did Bill give you any more trouble?”

    “Twice,” Dylan explained. “The first time was right after we reported him. He showed up at the Academy, trying to pick a fight, and Jon told him to leave. He spat in Jon’s face, and Jon broke his nose…”


    “Then the other time was a few months later. I ran into him in town, and he got angry, so I put him on the ground, and walked off…” Dylan explained. “I’ve lived with Jon and his family since then, and worked at the Academy.”

    “It sounds like you’ve made a life for yourself there,” Brent asked, as Dylan nodded. “You got a girlfriend back home?”

    Dylan was taken aback slightly by the directness of the question. Jon and Alyssa didn’t ask questions like that, that directly, though Dylan didn’t realize that’s because they both knew him and Abbee well enough to not need to ask.

    “Nah, no girlfriend,” Dylan replied a little awkwardly. Brent grinned a little.

    “What about a car?”

    “I have a dual cab ute. Comes in handy for work, and I know Jon likes having one on the property,” Dylan explained. “Saved up and bought myself one during my first year at the Academy, but during the second summer, when Deoxys attacked, it got blown up, and then it took nine months for the military to own up and pay for damages. In that time I saved a bit more money and between that, the money they reimbursed me for it, and some extra money Jon found in the budget, I was able to get something brand new.”

    Brent nodded, still taking in everything Dylan had said, when Dylan turned it around.

    “What about you?” Dylan asked. “What’s your story?”

    Brent took a sip of his beer when he considered the question.

    “I was born in Jubilife and studied there through undergraduate and medicine,” Brent explained. “I got sent to Canalave Hospital for my internship about eighteen years ago. Did my internship and residency there, and just never left. By the time it was over and I had more options, I’d found I enjoyed life here too much. That and I met my wife here, and she didn’t want to leave, so I stuck around…”

    “How did she take it, finding out you have another son?”

    Brent’s expression darkened a little at the question, as he seemed to struggle to answer it.

    “She passed away about ten years ago,” Brent explained. “Car accident…”

    “I’m sorry,” Dylan said, realising his question was likely bringing some bad memories to the surface.

    “Don’t be,” Brent answered casually. “There’s no avoiding the fact she is gone, and you shouldn’t have to apologise for referencing it…”

    “What was her name?”

    “Erin,” Brent answered, seeming almost nostalgic. “We met seventeen years ago, during my second year at Canalave Hospital. She’d been ice skating with some friends and had a fall, and hit her head a little too hard for comfort, so was brought to get checked out…”

    Brent grinned as he remembered meeting her.

    “She insisted she was fine, and kept trying to convince me to let her out, when we had to keep her in overnight. When I put my foot down, she told me that by the time it reached midnight I’d want to send her home early,” Brent reminisced. “I was only rostered on until eleven, and she kept pestering me about being bored, asking me to play cards with her, watch TV with her, anything really, thinking as a hospital doctor I’d be too busy to do it, and just be working with her nagging me. But I wanted to one-up her, so when my shift ended, I didn’t change out of my scrubs, and decided to do what she asked. I figured if her tactic was to be as clingy and needy as she could be, to annoy me into sending her home, I’d play her game by doing everything she asked and then some…”

    “So you stayed at work for God knows how long, unpaid, entertaining a patient who during your shift had been driving you up the wall?” Dylan asked, struggling to follow Brent’s logic.

    “Pretty much. I was a dude in his late twenties who hadn’t had a date in eighteen months. Spend a night entertaining a very pretty, granted slightly annoying girl, or go home, and watch TV until I fall asleep on the couch?” Brent asked with a grin. “Anyway, I stuck with her all night, until she got discharged the next day, and that was when she asked me how long my shift was, and when it ended. I told her it ended twelve hours ago, and that I wanted to win her little game. Then I asked her out, and she said yes…”

    Dylan was shocked that the woman who Brent seemed to still love so much, had come into his life, attempting to annoy him into sending her away, to which he responded by entertaining every whim to annoy her back.

    “We were married within a year, and Cody was born a year later,” Brent explained. “He’s fifteen, and Chelsea’s twelve. You’ll meet them tomorrow…”

    Dylan nodded, before asking another question.

    “What do you do for fun?”

    Brent let out a short bark of laughter.

    “When I get the chance to have any? I like to take my boat out,” Brent answered. “Doesn’t happen often. I work from 10am to 6pm, and by the time I get home, the kids need help with homework, and there are things around the house to get done. Washing, tidying, bills to pay. I’m thankful that James, my younger brother, helps me out with picking them up from school, but I honestly don’t really have a great deal of time anymore. I’m just lucky the hospital knows my situation, and doesn't roster me on nights or weekends…”

    Dylan understood what Brent was saying, finding a newfound respect for him. He partially wished he knew of a practical way to help out with day to day life, however knew that would be practically impossible.

    “Anyway, it’s getting late,” Brent said. “I’ll show you to your room, and introduce you to Cody and Chelsea tomorrow…”

    Dylan nodded, having emptied his beer, before quietly following Brent to the guest bedroom. Brent said goodnight, as Dylan closed the door, before sitting on the freshly made bed. He took off his shoes, before laying down, considering everything that had been said. He was thankful more than anything right now that Brent seemed to be a genuinely good person. He had been intentional about not asking about Brent’s history then and there. As desperate as he was to know, he didn’t want the rest of his stay potentially tarnished by bad news. Instead, he opted to speak of it sometime during the next few days with Brent. For now, he turned off the bedside lamp, before going to sleep.

    Chapter 2
    It was before sunrise when Dylan awoke, despite the late hour he had gotten to sleep. For a moment, he didn’t recognize the room, having to remember the events of the day before to do so. He checked his phone to confirm the time, and was surprised to see a long list of notifications, largely new followers on Instagram.

    “Goddamn…” he muttered as his phone lagged when he pressed the button to clear the notifications.

    He considered staying in his room until he heard Brent and the kids downstairs, however decided against it. The house was silent, and whilst Dylan could wait, he also was restless, and didn’t want to.

    He put on a clean set of clothes, as well as his shoes, before creeping downstairs, careful to not wake anyone. The last thing he wanted was to wake one of Brent’s kids, and them not know they had a guest, only to think he had broken into their house. He made his way to the kitchen, quietly writing a note, and leaving it on the table for Brent.

    "Woke up early, and went for a walk. Will be back in time for breakfast…”

    He crept out of Brent’s house, and was surprised to see how many people were already on the streets going about their day. Whilst they were hardly packed, there were more than he’d expect to see before six in the morning. He walked to the main street, looking out for a convenience store that was open early, whilst also taking in the sights.

    In the distance, where Dylan knew the canal was, masts of sailing crafts could be seen jutting out into the air, and the smell of the sea breeze was unavoidable. As he walked, taking in his surroundings, he was pulled from his thoughts by an unfamiliar voice.

    “Hey, you’re Dylan Squier, aren’t you?”

    Dylan looked to see a woman in her late twenties, her dark hair tied back, clad in activewear, and removing her earbuds, as she walked towards him, somewhat out of breath. He realised that she had seen him, stopped, and turned around.

    “Yeah, I’m Dylan,” Dylan answered, somewhat awkwardly, not used to this attention.

    “I watched your battle on TV yesterday with my housemates,” the woman explained. “I’m shocked that you’re not more well known. Everyone is really. It was incredible…”

    “Thanks,” Dylan answered, before trying to explain himself. “I’m not a huge fan of being in the spotlight…”

    “Yeah, that’s fair enough,” she replied. “Though I think it may be a little too late now. You’ve been all over Twitter…”

    Dylan groaned hearing that, before she asked another question.

    “What brings you to Canalave? I figured you’d be going back to Hoenn…”

    “Visiting family,” Dylan answered simply. She nodded, before placing her earbuds back in.

    “Well, thanks for chatting to a new fan,” she said, before calling out as she continued her jog. “Have a nice day!”

    It took Dylan forty minutes to reach the convenience store. Realistically, it would have taken him half that, however, the jogger was the first of four people to recognize him, and make conversation. Additionally, the cashier had realised who he was serving, and asked for a photo, which Dylan apprehensively, and awkwardly obliged.

    Whilst it was far from a cold morning, Dylan pulled the hood of his hoodie over his head, hoping to curb the interruptions as he walked back to Brent’s house. Surprisingly, the tactic worked, allowing Dylan to make much faster progress. It wasn’t until he passed the homeless man, who had been sleeping the evening before, when he was stopped for the first time since he left the convenience store.

    As he walked past, noticing the man holding a cup in his left hand, Dylan placed a five dollar note that had been given as change in the man’s cup, expecting to keep walking, and get back to Brent’s house for breakfast, and to meet his siblings. To Dylan’s shock however, as he released the note, a lightning fast hand gripped Dylan tightly by the wrist. He jumped in shock, looking down at the man.

    “Hey-” Dylan said, before the man spoke, cutting off any objection.

    “He took the one that stops the terror,” the homeless man said, his eyes wide, and darting around. “He took it away, and now it comes for us…”

    The homeless man stopped looking around for a second to make eye contact with Dylan, and he was shocked when the man seemed to recognise him. Dylan felt his grip loosen, and quickly recoiled his hand before he regained his grip.

    “You…” the man said. “You beat her!”

    “I think you’ve got the wrong person,” Dylan said, unsure how to handle this man, who he was quite sure was mentally ill in some way. “Sorry…”

    Dylan walked away, as the man started shouting at him, blaming him for some terror that was befalling them. He rounded a corner, walking into Brent’s street, and made his way to the house, which was now familiar to him, before knocking on the door. Dylan heard footsteps, before Brent opened the door, the sound of young voices talking emanating from the kitchen, through the hall.

    “I woke up early and couldn’t get back to sleep,” Dylan explained, before holding the box he carried. “I got some doughnuts…”

    “Trying to bribe them?” Brent joked, as Dylan shrugged.

    “If they don’t want them, I’m happy to take the bullet…”

    “Come in, I’ll introduce you…” Brent said, though Dylan hesitated.

    “How much will you introduce me?” Dylan asked, keeping his voice lowered as to not be overheard. “I just don’t want to say the wrong thing if you don’t want to tell them everything right now…”

    “All but the unnecessary details,” Brent answered. “Come in.”

    Dylan followed Brent into the hallway, before he led Dylan down the same path as the night before, through the lounge and into the kitchen. Sitting around the small table were a boy and girl, Dylan recalled being fifteen and twelve respectively. Both looked at him somewhat surprised, as Brent spoke.

    “Cody, Chelsea, I want you to meet Dylan…” Brent said, casually, though his tone indicating this was something important. Both kids murmured a greeting, as Brent sat down, gesturing Dylan to take the remaining seat opposite him.

    “I brought some doughnuts,” Dylan said awkwardly, after greeting the pair of them, and sitting down. There was an awkward silence, before Chelsea broke it.

    “He was the one on TV yesterday, wasn’t he?” Chelsea asked Brent. “When you were watching those battles?”

    “He is,” Brent explained. Dylan looked between those at the table. Chelsea seemed unable to take her gaze off him, as if a celebrity had walked into her house and joined her for breakfast. To be fair though, that wasn’t an inaccurate assessment of the situation. She had bushy brown hair, the same shade as his own, though had piercing blue eyes, which Dylan assumed she inherited from her mother. Cody on the other hand, seemed to just stare down at his plate that sat in front of him. He had blonde hair, and the same blue eyes that Chelsea had.

    “I work at the Eon Academy in Hoenn,” Dylan explained, trying to sound more confident than he really was. He was surprised that he felt more anxious about meeting his siblings than Brent himself. “We were challenged to battles by a school in Jubilife, so we made the trip over…”

    “So why are you here?” Chelsea asked, not intending to be blunt, but simply curious. “Are you friends with Dad?”

    Dylan stammered at the question, unable to answer that, and looking to Brent, who decided that the only way to handle this was to make the hard call, and simply tell them.

    “Dylan is your older brother…”

    Chelsea’s eyes widened at the revelation, as Cody, unable to restrain himself, looked up quickly at Dylan in shock, before seeming to see the resemblance between Dylan and Brent, and looking between them.

    “Half brother, to be specific,” Brent continued, knowing that he may as well use the silence before the pair of them were bombarded with questions. “Before I met your mum, I was with Dylan’s mum, but things didn’t work out. She ended up moving to Hoenn, and didn’t tell me that she was pregnant. Dylan only found out who I was recently, and reached out to me a few weeks ago…”

    Cody resumed staring blankly at his food, poking it with his spoon, as Chelsea continued to be speechless.

    “I want you to know that I loved your mum, and still do. I was with Dylan’s mum years before I met your mum, and we were well and truly over by the time I met Erin,” Brent tried to explain. “And just because I now know I have another son, I still love the pair of you just as much as I did before…”

    “Is he going to stay here?”

    Cody asked the question, speaking for the first time outside of his quiet greeting before, and his tone made it very clear what he wanted the answer to be.

    “No. Dylan has a life for himself back in Hoenn,” Brent explained. “He had some questions, and knowing a little more about our family would help him find some answers. So he got in touch with me, and since he was planning on coming to Jubilife anyway, decided to meet us. But I do hope that after this is over, we can keep in touch…”

    Dylan nodded in agreement, opening the box of doughnuts, and grabbing one for himself, before offering the box to Chelsea. She looked at him, then the doughnuts, before grabbing one for herself. When Dylan offered the box to Cody, he simply ignored it.

    “I would like for the three of you to be able to get along well, but I understand this is a pretty huge shock to hear,” Brent said to both kids, though directing it more towards Cody. “I won’t force you to be friends with him, but I think if you give him a chance, you’ll find he is a pretty exceptional guy…”

    “How did you win so easily yesterday?” Chelsea asked, seeming to have accepted him already. “I’ve got two Pokemon, but don’t win very often…”

    “Lots of practice, and being creative with how I battled,” Dylan answered, before asking Chelsea a question. “What Pokemon do you have?”

    “A Turtwig and a Voltorb,” Chelsea answered.

    “Any guesses which one I don’t allow in the house?” Brent asked, as he grabbed a doughnut himself, causing Dylan to grin.

    “While I’m here, I’m happy to try and teach you some tactics?” Dylan offered. “I teach at the Eon Academy when I’m back home…”

    He conveniently left out the fact that Jon taught all tactics related classes, leaving Dylan to teach Raising Pokemon, but for a twelve year old who wasn’t competing, he figured he’d have some wisdom regardless.

    Brent checked his watch, before addressing Cody and Chelsea.

    “We’ve gotta get you two to school,” Brent said, before standing, rushing into the last of his doughnut. “Grab your school bags, and head out to the car. I’ll take care of your dishes.”

    “Let me,” Dylan said, standing, and walking towards where Brent stood, and lowering his voice. “They’d probably appreciate an extra few minutes alone with you…”

    “Thanks,” Brent said, before looking back towards Cody and Chelsea, who were now fumbling around for their shoes and bag. “Come on, we don’t want to be late.”

    “Bye Dylan,” Chelsea said, before waving and making her way out of the room.

    “See you Chelsea. It was nice meeting you,” Dylan said, before looking towards Cody. “You too Cody…”

    Cody grunted quietly, leaving the room, and Brent and Dylan alone. Brent grabbed his wallet from the bench, before talking to Dylan.

    “I’ll come back before work and we can talk then…”

    Dylan nodded, as Brent left, leaving him alone as he grabbed the dishes from the table, pouring any remaining food, largely on Cody’s plate, into the bin, and starting to stack the dishwasher.

    It was nearly an hour later when Brent returned. Dylan had spent the hour wandering through the hallways, looking at photos that hung on the wall of Brent, Cody, Chelsea, and who he presumed to be Brent’s late wife, Erin. Upon closer inspection, he definitely saw that both children had inherited Erin’s eyes, with Cody inheriting her blonde coloured hair, and Chelsea, while having the same colour hair as Brent, had inherited the frizziness that Erin's hair also had. As he looked through the pictures, he felt a pang of sadness, particularly for Cody. He must have been five when Erin passed away, with memories of his mother that Chelsea, only being two years old when she lost her mother, didn’t share. It was one thing to lose a parent, and not remember much, but remembering it, and not having a sibling who did as well, seemed painful.

    “That went okay,” Brent said, as he walked over to Dylan who was looking at a photo of the four of them, taken on Christmas morning. “I love that photo…”

    Dylan was quiet thinking over the events of the morning.

    “How was your walk?” Brent asked. “It must have been nice actually seeing the city in daylight.”

    “It was nice,” Dylan said. “Although I had way too many people recognize me from yesterday. And also had a weird run in with the homeless guy that sits on Main Street…”

    Brent sighed.

    “He didn’t get violent or anything, did he?” Brent asked, seeming to know who Dylan was talking about.

    “Barely,” Dylan replied. “I gave him some money, but then he grabbed my wrist and started talking about the terror and rambling on. Then he mistook me for someone else, and got even more confused…”

    “That’s Andrew. Sad story really,” Brent explained. “He has schizophrenia that should have been diagnosed decades ago. But mental health only really started to be given its due diligence in recent years, and he fell through gaps. He couldn’t hold a job, and eventually lost his house. He’s been living rough for years…”

    “And nobody helps him?” Dylan asked, somewhat surprised.

    “You saw yourself how he can be,” Brent explained. “Even when he gets his medication, he doesn’t take it consistently, because of the side effects. People have tried letting him stay with them, or giving him work, but he is volatile, and people are hurt, or property is damaged. People have been trying to help him get off the streets for years, but gotten nowhere, and now settle for making sure he gets three meals a day, and has something warm by the time winter hits…”

    Dylan felt slightly ashamed that he understood that reasoning. He glanced at the clock on the wall, realising how long they’d spent talking about Andrew.

    “Do you think maybe you should have told them later?” Dylan asked, wanting to talk about this before his siblings finished school for the day. “Chelsea took it well but Cody…”

    “Cody has been like that since before you arrived,” Brent explained with a sigh. “His best friend Joshua has been in hospital for the last month, and he has been shut off since…”

    “Damn,” Dylan muttered.

    “I know what you’re saying though. You showing up and me telling them you’re their brother is a lot, but it was the best we could do right now,” Brent explained. “They’d wonder why this guy who was on TV the day before is now staying at their house for a few days, and if I lied to them, it would have made things worse. And honestly, with juggling my work, and their school, it would have been impossible to find a good time…”

    Dylan nodded understanding the reasoning. It would be a shock for them now, but the truth being told sooner would be better for them long term.

    “You do well,” Dylan said casually. “Working, as a doctor no less, and helping sick people, while still finding time to be a solo parent…”

    “I wish I could do better,” Brent said with a self-deprecating grin. “At both, really. Without James helping me out with logistics, I’d be struggling to be a parent to them. And Joshua is a patient of mine, and I’m no closer to figuring out what’s wrong with him than when he came in a month ago…”

    “I didn’t think doctors treated people they knew?”

    “Generally we don’t,” Brent explained. “But this is a highly unusual case, and most of the doctors who have the experience to give them a snowball’s chance in hell of figuring it out have retired, and most of the other doctors there are too new and inexperienced to be able to figure it out…”

    “If you’re allowed to tell me, what’s wrong?” Dylan asked. Brent shrugged.

    “Seeing as he is my son’s friend, and I’d know regardless of work, I’m allowed to tell you,” Brent explained. “About a month or so ago, he just didn’t wake up in the morning…”

    Dylan’s eyes widened hearing this.

    “His parents tried to wake him, but couldn’t, so called an ambulance, and they brought him in. Since then, he hasn’t woken up,” Brent continued, having told this to many colleagues in other hospitals, trying to see if anyone had heard of a case like this before. “I’ve run every scan or test on him, and other than the fact that he hasn’t woken up, he is a completely normal and healthy teenage boy. There are two things we noticed, which is weird about all of this…”

    “What’s that?”

    “His brain waves indicate he is dreaming, though he seems to be able to perceive sounds around him, and there is a visible response. But specifically, he is having nightmares…”

    Hearing that, Dylan’s mind raced back to the summer before, with Charlotte going from sleeping peacefully to having consistent nightmares practically every night, making sleep near impossible for her. They later had discovered these nightmares were Deoxys reaching out to her, trying to find help from the torture it was suffering by the scientists in the Mossdeep Space Center.

    “Have you looked into it being a Pokemon?” Dylan asked. “My friend Charlotte started having nightmares every single night out of nowhere, and it was a psychic Pokemon causing them…”

    “We considered that, and spoke to the League to get their input,” Brent explained. “They said that whilst Pokemon can cause people to sleep, and create nightmares, they are always temporary and there is no known Pokemon capable of what we were seeing. Short of it being a Pokemon with a mutation that allows it to do this, which the chances of occurring are astronomical…”

    “But what about a Legendary Pokemon?” Dylan asked. “Hear me out, I thought the same thing about Charlotte, and figured Jon’s Latios was the strongest telepath on the island, so any Pokemon causing her nightmares had to be within Latios’ telepathic range, and scoured it. I found nothing. We later realised that it was a Legendary Pokemon, kilometres away and underground, reaching out to her…”

    Brent shook his head.

    “Even then, this is beyond a simple Hypnosis or Nightmare attack. Legendary Pokemon need to sleep as much as any other, and for a Pokemon to be holding this power over a human for this long…” Brent explained, before shaking his head again. “Besides, if it is, I’m a doctor, not a trainer or a ranger, and I have other patients I need to treat. I’m not equipped to find whatever Pokemon may be doing this. I’m equipped to figure out if there is anything wrong physically, and treat that, otherwise, keep him alive until there is a new lead that the right people can investigate…”

    Brent seemed to remember something, before addressing Dylan.

    “You came here to ask about my family’s history, to help with a potential diagnosis?”

    Dylan nodded, though his mind was elsewhere.

    “It can wait. You gotta get to work, don’t you?” Dylan said. “I’d rather not be on a countdown while having the conversation…”

    Brent nodded, checking his watch and realising he was cutting it close.

    “I’ll be back by seven,” Brent said, before grabbing his bag off the nearby chair, and making his way back to the car. “You’re welcome to stay here, but there is plenty to see in Canalave. The canal, the gym, the library. Erin worked in the library, and always recommended it…”

    “I’ll have to check it out…”

    Chapter 3
    After hearing about Joshua, the boy who hadn’t woken up, and remembering Charlotte’s own nightmares, Dylan was already planning on doing some research. He hadn’t brought his own laptop, however figured that Canalave would have a library and it would have computers. Brent had confirmed it, and when Dylan arrived, he realised that he’d be severely limiting his options if he stuck purely to online research.

    The library was the oldest building in Canalave City, although it was meticulously maintained. It stood at four floors high, and when Dylan glanced around the inside, at the numerous books that lined the shelves, he saw dozens of old looking tomes that he figured contained knowledge not easily found anywhere else.

    “Can I help you?”

    For a library, the room itself was loud with chatter, though Dylan noted there was a sign on a nearby wall explaining that the second floor was a quiet reading area. A dozen people, a mixture of visitors and workers, one of the latter approaching him with the question. She was pretty, roughly Dylan’s age with a freckled face and shoulder length fair hair, wearing a pair of black jeans and a floral blouse.

    “I’ve got a bit of a personal project I’m working on,” Dylan explained. “I was actually hoping to do some research, if I could use a computer?”

    The librarian, whose name tag read Maddi, nodded enthusiastically.

    “We have computers available on all floors but the second,” Maddi explained. “If you don’t mind me asking, what are you researching?”

    “Pokemon Mythology and Legendary Pokemon,” Dylan explained. As he said this, a glimmer of recognition crossed Maddi’s eyes.

    “You’re Dylan Squier, aren’t you?” she asked, though already was convinced of the answer. “Your battle was amazing!”

    Dylan smiled weakly, hoping that the constant recognition would slow down to a halt.

    “Thank you,” Dylan said. “So Pokemon Mythology…”

    “Oh, yes,” Maddi answered, flushing slightly with embarrassment. “Fourth floor, north eastern corner. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Between myself, the other staff and the regulars, we have probably read every book in this building. Chances are if you’re after something specific, someone here will know where to find it.”

    Dylan nodded, thanking Maddi, before making his way to the stairs. As he reached them however, he noticed a flicker of gold light in his peripheral vision, causing him to turn to look at a nearby wall, one of the few not obstructed by a bookcase. On it were a series of framed pictures, with gold plaques underneath. He walked over, one of the pictures seeming familiar. As he got closer, he recognized the person in the photo, before reading the plaque.

    ’Erin Ashton. Friend to all who found their way into the Canalave Library, and helped nurture a love for reading in many. Taken too soon…’

    Dylan glanced over the photos, realising it was a wall to those who played a part in the life of the Canalave Library, who had passed away, and was sad to see that Erin was the only person there who looked to be younger than sixty.

    He made his way up the stairs to the fourth floor, which was somewhat emptier and quieter than the first. He approached a vacant computer, removing his jacket and leaving it on the chair, hoping to reserve the space, as he went to the north eastern corner, where a large bookcase was labelled Pokemon Mythology. On his way to the library, he had googled Legendary Pokemon Nightmare hoping to find a thread to start pulling, however had found nothing, other than Legendary Pokemon that were believed to know the nightmare attack. That however was not what was going on. Brent was right. A Pokemon simply using Hypnosis and Nightmare couldn’t sustain the attack for a month straight, let alone without being caught.

    “I guess I gotta be thorough,” Dylan muttered, grabbing a handful of large books, and taking them towards the desk and computer he had reserved. Getting comfortable, he opened the first book, and looked through the table of contents, picking a chapter that looked as if it may have some relevant information, and preparing for a long read.

    It was an hour after noon when Dylan put down the first book, which had been a general introduction to the mythology that was derived from ancient Sinnoh civilization. It had described the existence of Arceus, an omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent being. Arceus had allegedly created Dialga, the Legendary Pokemon tasked with maintaining the flow of time, Palkia, tasked with maintaining space, and Giratina, though it was unknown what Giratina was tasked with. All that was said about Giratina was that Arceus had banished it for its violence, to a world of distortion, on the reverse of their own.

    From there, Arceus created Uxie, Azelf and Mesprit, three Legendary Pokemon that together were the manifestation of the human condition. The three Pokemon represented Knowledge, Willpower and Emotion respectively.

    Whilst these stories didn’t reference the Hoenn mythology, describing Groudon and Kyogre forming the land and sea respectively, or Mew being the ancestor of all Pokemon, as he had heard in different places before, Dylan couldn’t help but see the potential for them to align. He sighed as he pushed the first book aside, not feeling any closer to finding an answer, and intentionally choosing the next book, before he had the chance to wonder whether he was wasting his time. He forced himself to stay focused on the task. He had dismissed the idea of Charlotte’s nightmares being caused by a Legendary Pokemon, until it was impossible to ignore the possibility, and by that point, the damage had been done, with Deoxys attacking less than a week later. He didn’t want to dismiss it prematurely this time.

    The next book he read was also on the Legendary Pokemon of Sinnoh, however, instead of the information being described as a sequence of events, attributed to a creation narrative, the book itself focused on the Legendary Pokemon, with sections dedicated to each, compiling many myths, legends, and in some cases, facts, about the given Pokemon from all over Sinnoh, and occasionally elsewhere, into their sections.

    The section of Arceus was by far the shortest, with Arceus being the source of so much myth that an entire book would be needed to discuss it. Whilst this book seemed to make a point of filtering out the inconsistent or uncommon trends in mythology, there was little consistent or common about Arceus, giving it little material that suited the book.

    Dialga and Palkia had equally long sections, with much more information on hand, as well as illustrations of what people imagined them to look like. Whilst little was known as fact about these two Pokemon, the mythology and rumours were consistent across many sources, allowing for much of it to be compiled. The section on Giratina, though allegedly equal to Dialga and Palkia in strength and importance, was half the size, however there were more illustrations, albeit they varied much more, some showing Giratina as a large, armoured, six legged Pokemon, and others showing it serpentine, with no legs, but with spikes jutting out instead, the book noting that Giratina has been equally described both ways, making it difficult to distinguish which imagining is more accurate.

    Uxie, Azelf and Mesprit had large chapters, due to reported sightings of the Pokemon, however it had to be admitted that these Pokemon being attributed to geographical locations, required scrutiny to be placed on these claims, on the basis of a potential placebo effect, figuring people who may have overactive imaginations, living near the places attributed to these Pokemon, may simply be imagining it, with very few reported sightings offering any knowledge that wasn’t commonly known among the people who lived nearby, or wasn’t inconsistent with what was known about them.

    Dylan turned the page from the last one on the chapter on Mesprit, and was slightly surprised to see a large illustration of Cresselia on the next page, marking the beginning of a new chapter. Whilst it was somewhat different from the real thing, the book itself was eighty years old, and Dylan presumed that Cresselia hadn’t been photographed or captured before it was published.

    ”Cresselia represents the crescent moon, although it has also been attributed to the full moon in some traditions. Rumoured to only be female, it is said to be exceptional at healing, both itself and others, though the rumoured ability that makes this Pokemon so unique, is the qualities of the feathers that make up its wings, even when shed. Lunar feathers are rumoured to have the ability to dispel and prevent nightmares, allowing one who comes into contact with one to have pleasant dreams…”

    Dylan’s eyes widened as he read this. His first thought was that a Lunar Feather from Cresselia may wake Joshua up. However, he realised that he was getting ahead of himself, as the book had not said specifically that it would wake someone up from an unending nightmare. However, even if Cresselia’s Lunar Feather couldn’t wake Joshua up, it may be able to soothe him of the nightmares he suffered.

    Dylan twisted around to reach into his jacket’s inner pocket, looking for something in particular, and praying he hadn’t lost it. When he felt the touch of paper on his fingertips, he gripped it, and pulled it out, placing it on the page in front of him, as he removed his phone.

    Brad Jenkins, the paper said, followed by a phone number. Dylan punched the number in, and was about to dial, asking Brad to come to Canalave to see if Cresselia could help Joshua, before noticing something he hadn’t read yet in his hurry, partially obscured by the piece of paper. It was one word that he saw, which caused him to hesitate. ’Terror…’

    Locking his phone, Dylan moved the piece of paper, reading the sentence it obscured.

    ”Additionally, the presence of Cresselia is believed to protect against the terror of the new moon…”

    The myths of Cresselia’s feathers dispelling nightmares were ones Dylan had heard whispers of before. It was the subject of children's stories, with certain companies cashing in on the legend, selling Lunar Feathers, which were plastic and produced by the thousand in a factory somewhere. This terror of the new moon however was new to Dylan. Or so he thought. Seeing the word terror in this context seemed familiar to him, though he couldn’t remember where…

    “This book is pretty old,” said a familiar voice behind Dylan. “You probably know more from battling it than this book does…”

    Dylan turned to see Maddi, who had walked past, and must have caught a glimpse of the illustration on the page he was opened to. He looked up at her, as she seemed to realize it was impolite to read over people's shoulders.

    “Sorry,” Maddi said quickly. “This stuff just interests me, and I saw you reading up on Cresselia and-”

    “It’s fine,” Dylan said, before having a thought. “You said this stuff interests you, and between you and a few others, you’ve probably read every book in this place?”

    “Close to,” Maddi replied, a note of pride present in her voice. “This section in particular…”

    Dylan slid the book across, so she could see it without hunching over his shoulder, pointing to the section he had just read.

    “This bit here, this reference to the terror of the new moon,” Dylan explained. “Have you heard of it before?”

    Maddi took a moment to think it over, obviously struggling to come to a conclusion. After a few seconds, she spoke.

    “Hmmm, I’ve definitely heard the phrase before. Likely in a book here,” Maddi explained. “But I couldn’t tell you where I read it, or the context of it. It just rings a bell…”

    “Same,” Dylan said, before sighing. “I guess I’ll keep reading…”

    “I’ll keep thinking about it and try and figure out where I heard it,” Maddi said, as she stood, walking back to the cart with returned books, and going back to her task at hand. Dylan stood to his feet, stretching his legs and arms, before sitting back into his chair, and collapsing into it. He took a breath, before finding his resolve, and closing the book he had been reading, instead, opening another, and looking through the index, this time keeping an eye out for terror.

    It was mid-afternoon when Dylan’s focus was pulled from the book that had his attention at that point by the sound of his phone buzzing loudly on the wooden desk. He placed down the book, grabbing his phone, and finding a text from Brent.

    ”Not sure if you’re at home or not, but James will be bringing Cody and Chelsea home from school soon. I’ll be home between six and seven and will fix up dinner then. If you want to spend time with them, play it by ear. Chelsea seems okay, but Cody might want some space. If you do talk, don’t tell him I mentioned Joshua to you. See you tonight…”

    Dylan sent a quick response, not that anything largely needed responding to, but simply acknowledging he had seen and read the message. It was then he started to realize how late in the day it was getting. The clock on the wall read three o’clock, and Dylan knew the library closed at five. He began tidying up his space, before thinking about the walk home, and praying that he wouldn’t be pestered every five meters by people recognizing. Or have another incident with Andrew, the homeless man.

    Dylan’s eyes widened as he realized where he had heard the terror before…

    “He took the one that stops the terror… He took it away, and now it comes for us…”

    Suddenly, Dylan realized that this man was talking about Brad. He must have seen part of the live-stream, and seen that Cresselia was under a trainer’s command. Suddenly, Dylan realized Andrew hadn’t mistaken him for someone else. Andrew had recognized Dylan…

    “You… You beat her!”

    Dylan hadn’t realized this because until he researched it, he didn’t know Cresselia were only female.


    Andrew had recognized Dylan as the trainer who beat Cresselia in a battle, and given his already scared mindset of Cresselia being captured, and nothing being there to stop the terror, he had acted out towards Dylan. However Dylan still had no idea what this terror was, and if it had anything to do with Joshua.

    “Oh good, you’re still here!”

    Dylan was pulled from his thoughts by Maddi, approaching with a relieved look on her face, carrying a small, novel length book, that looked to be among the older of the books housed at the library.

    “I thought I may have missed you,” Maddi explained. “I remembered where I heard about the terror...”

    She handed Dylan the book, which had a title stitched into the leather.

    Tales of the unseen…

    “What is it?” Dylan asked, not having seen it in the Pokemon Mythology section.

    “It’s a children’s story book, written about eighty years ago,” Maddi explained. “Back then, children’s stories rarely had happy endings. A lot were written by frustrated parents and teachers, trying to scare their kids straight, and the terror of the new moon is the subject of one of these stories…”

    “What is it?”

    “The terror of the new moon is a spectre, who on the night of the new moon, would put misbehaving children into an endless sleep, filled with nightmares, that they would never wake from…”

    Dylan couldn’t help but gasp hearing this, earning a grin from Maddi.

    “They really tried all angles to make kids behave,” Maddi said, chuckling at Dylan’s reaction. “No mention of Cresselia in the story, although there being an antidote takes away the fear from it…”

    Dylan had an idea forming, however needed to clarify some things.

    “Am I allowed to make a phone call in here?” Dylan asked. Maddi looked around the near empty room.

    “Technically not, but honestly, if you’re quiet about it, and no louder than we’re being right now, nobody will mind,” Maddi explained. “I’ll look the other way…”

    “Thanks,” Dylan said. “And thanks for finding that book. It really helps…”

    Maddi left, waving goodbye to Dylan, leaving him by his desk, where he retrieved Brad’s contact number for the second time today, however did a quick search on his phone.

    Moon Phases, Canalave Sinnoh.

    Dylan clicked on the first result, being an astronomy website, listing the various moon phases during the year. He looked for the section titled New Moons and quickly scrolled down to August, to see when the New Moon for that month would be.

    6:30pm, August 9th…

    Dylan noted the date, however couldn’t help but see the next one, as his heart skipped a beat.

    5:30am, September 8th…

    It was nearing 4pm on September 7th, and if Dylan’s working theory was correct, then every second of the next twelve hours counted…

    Dylan quickly punched in Brad’s number, unable to sit still with worry as the phone dialled.

    “Come on, answer…” Dylan muttered, as the phone continued to dial, until finally, the call connected.

    “Hey, it’s Brad, who’s this?”

    “Brad, it’s Dylan. Dylan Squier…”

    ”Dylan, it’s been like what, a day? What’s going on?” Brad asked, his tone casual, although somewhat weirded out by the sudden call.

    “Sorry to bother you, but I’m in Canalave visiting family and doing some research, and Cresselia is cropping up a bit,” Dylan explained. “Do you mind if I ask you some questions about Cresselia?”

    “I mean, sure,” Brad said. “But between us, I haven’t had Cresselia for a very long time. That is probably part of the reason you beat me so easily…”

    Dylan’s eyes widened hearing this.

    “When did you catch Cresselia?” Dylan asked. “As specific as possible…”

    There was an audible groan of concentration as Brad tried to remember.

    “Second week of August, I think. About a month ago, late in the evening. Like, midnight…”

    “Can you narrow it down?” Dylan asked. Whilst this answer helped to confirm his theory, he needed certainty.

    “I’ve got my laptop in front of me. Let me log in to my League account,” Brad replied, before the muffled sounds of the phone being moved, and switched to loudspeaker were audible to Dylan.

    There was a minute or so of the laptop booting up, and the clicks of keystrokes on the keyboard, before Brad finally answered.

    “I found Cresselia’s page on my profile,” Brad explained. ”I captured her at 12:07am on August 10th.”

    Dylan’s mind raced as he quickly calculated times. That was roughly seven hours after the new moon had reached its peak, early that evening.

    “Have you noticed any correlation between Cresselia and the moon?” Dylan asked. “She’s attributed to the moon in most traditions…”

    ”Her power was stronger during the full moon,” Brad answered, trying to remember. ”It was only for like half a day, but she seemed to struggle to control it a little. Like, she would levitate herself a little higher, but end up levitating twice as high as she intended. Or try and telekinetically pull something towards her, but pull four other things in the same general direction.”

    “And where did you catch her?”

    [i]”This little island west of Snowpoint City, but because of the terrain, you can’t disembark from Snowpoint. You need to take a ship north from Canalave,”[i] Brad explained. ”It’s about a five hour boat ride once you get away from the settlements and there aren’t speed limits. Double the distance from Canalave to Iron Island. But it was the western island, not the eastern one…”

    “There’s another island?” Dylan asked. “Did you go to that one?”

    “No, it was late, and my team had practically been wiped out trying to catch Cresselia,” Brad explained. ”I didn’t know what was on the other island, so cut my losses and quit while I was ahead…”

    ”Good thing you did…” Dylan thought to himself, before Brad asked him a question.

    ”What is it you’re looking into?” Brad asked, curious what would cause Dylan to all of a sudden have all of these questions about Cresselia that he didn’t have twenty-four hours earlier.

    “I’m not too sure at this point,” Dylan said, not wanting to speak too much, in case he was wrong. “I’ll tell you about it over that beer…”

    Whilst he didn’t necessarily want to get a beer with Brad, he figured Brad wanted it, and using that as an incentive to wait for answers was probably his best bet.

    “Thanks for your help Brad,” Dylan said. “Do you mind if I possibly call back if I have any other questions?”

    “Go for it,” Brad replied casually. “You can shout beers…”

    “First round’s on me…”

    Dylan hung up, before finding the message Brent sent him before, and pressing the call button.

    “Brent, I need to talk to you at the hospital…”

    Chapter 4
    Canalave City Hospital was a large and modern looking building that seemed to buzz with activity, even though the rest of the city was beginning to wind down. Even outside the front door was busy, with workers finishing shifts, patients being collected by family, and the odd nurse or doctor, to Dylan’s shock, smoking a cigarette.

    It was 5pm when he arrived at the hospital, having quickly made photocopies of relevant pages, and returning books, before rushing to the hospital to meet Brent. Whilst Brent had tried to convince Dylan that the conversation could happen over the phone, or wait until they were in person, Dylan had been persistent, and Brent relented. Dylan entered the building, finding himself at reception. He looked around, hoping to see Brent, however in the waiting room full of patients, nursing various injuries and ailments, he didn’t see his father, he looked towards the reception desk where he had caught the attention of the receptionist, looking over at him, as he made his way towards the desk.

    “Can I help you?” she asked politely, looking towards her computer, and trying to see if there were any appointments.

    “I’m here to see Brent,” Dylan began, before amending himself. “Doctor Ashton.”

    “Do you have an appointment?”

    “Not on paper, but I made arrangements over the phone with him personally to meet in the last hour…” Dylan said vaguely.

    “Are you a patient?”

    “No, family,” Dylan explained. “I just need to speak to him…”

    “It’s fine Jordan…”

    Dylan turned to see Brent making his way towards Dylan, dressed in scrubs and his expression neutral, though it was really to hide the confusion at Dylan’s sudden demand to see him then and there.

    “We’ll speak in my office…”

    Dylan followed Brent through the halls of the hospital, passing various wards and rooms, before the pair found themselves in a small, tidy office.

    “What’s so important that we had to speak now?” Brent asked. “I still have patients I need to see before I can leave…”

    “I’ve been looking into how a Pokemon could be causing Joshua to remain asleep, and I have a theory, but I need to know something first,” Dylan began, however Brent cut him off.

    “Joshua is my patient. You shouldn’t be looking into this. I’m his doctor-” Brent began, however Dylan, his anger flaring, cut him off.

    “You’re a doctor, and you know your stuff when it comes to medicine. But so far nothing you can think of is working,” Dylan said angrily. If his theory was right, they had little time to waste arguing. “But I know my stuff when it comes to Pokemon, and if I’m right, we might be able to help him, and prevent other people from suffering the same thing. And if we want to do that, I need to know, when did Joshua go to sleep before all of this?”

    “Dylan, I can’t disclose that level of information-”

    “How close was it to 12:07am on the 10th of August?” Dylan asked, not leaving Brent a chance to argue. However, Brent’s eyes widened.

    “How did you know that date?” Brent asked. “He went to bed at 11pm on August 9th, and slept through his alarm at 7am on August 10th. His parents tried to wake him for school at 7:30, but he was unresponsive…”

    Dylan removed from his jacket pocket some folded photocopies of the pages he had been reading, largely on Cresselia.

    “Brad Jenkins captured Cresselia from an island north of here at 12:07am on August 10th, roughly seven hours after the peak of the new moon. Next to this island was another he didn’t investigate. This book here says that the presence of Cresselia is able to protect against the terror of the new moon…” Dylan explained. “The terror of the new moon is a children’s story about a spectre that forces children into an endless sleep on the night of the new moon…”

    Brent looked over the papers, putting the pieces together that Dylan was putting in front of him.

    “You think that there is some ghost that Cresselia keeps at bay?” Brent asked. “And when this Brad guy captured it, it allowed this ghost to target Joshua?”

    “Not a ghost. A Pokemon. It is common for Legendary Pokemon to be in pairs that balance each other out. In Hoenn they believe that Groudon and Kyogre are equal in terms of power, allowing for a balance of land and seas. I think that Cresselia is one side of a coin, and this terror of the new moon is the other, kept at bay by Cresselia…” Dylan explained. “Brad told me Cresselia loses some control of her power during the full moon, and if my theory is correct, I’d bet that this other Pokemon experiences the same thing during the new moon, and its power manages to reach Canalave…”

    It all made sense for Brent. The timing was just too perfect to ignore.

    “I’ll call the League and get them to send someone to this island…” Brent began, however Dylan shook his head.

    “Tonight is the new moon. In twelve hours it will reach its peak, and honestly, I think Joshua was the only one affected because Brad only captured Cresselia towards the end of the period of this Pokemon’s power being uncontrollable,” Dylan explained. “The League will take days to get someone there to investigate with all their red tape and paperwork, and by that point, one or more people could wind up the same way as Joshua…”

    “So what do we do?”

    “You have a boat,” Dylan answered simply. “You take me to this island, and I’ll try and capture this Pokemon…”

    Brent’s eyes widened at the suggestion.

    “Do you think you have what it takes to beat it?” Brent asked, somewhat surprised.

    “We have to leave in the next hour if we want to catch it before its power grows unstable…” Dylan explained. “And I don’t know of anyone else within an hour of us who could do it better than me…”

    Brent spent the next fifteen minutes calling in favours from colleagues to cover his patients for the rest of his shift, some of whom required him to be quite forceful in order to get what he needed from them. However, with all patients covered, he and Dylan left quickly, going to the hospital car park to Brent’s car, before leaving and rushing back to Brent’s house. Brent parked his car in the garage, before he and Dylan rushed out, Brent taking the lead as he went into the house, entering into the hallway near the front door, Dylan following close behind him.

    Brent led the way into the kitchen, where sitting at a laptop at the table was a man Dylan recognized from Brent’s Facebook profile. James.

    Seeming to see Brent in his peripheral vision, James looked up, somewhat puzzled.

    “You’re early?” James asked, his voice slightly slurred due to his deafness.

    “Something came up,” Brent said, surprising Dylan, however he noticed a few hand gestures which Dylan assumed to be sign language. “This is Dylan. Dylan, this is my brother James.”

    Dylan nodded politely, as Brent said quietly, “he can lip read well enough to get by, with the little help the hearing aid gives him. I just use sign language to help…”

    Dylan walked forward, outstretching his hand to James in introduction.

    “Nice to meet you,” Dylan said, forcing himself to not mumble, as to accommodate James' lack of hearing.

    “Likewise,” James replied, before turning to Brent. “What has come up?”

    “We think that the condition of one of my patients is caused by a Pokemon on an island north of here,” Brent explained. “We’re taking the boat there to see if that’s the case, and for Dylan to capture the Pokemon if it is…”

    “Shouldn’t you get Byron, or the League to handle it?” James asked, as Dylan shook his head.

    “If we are correct, this Pokemon will hurt someone else tonight, and the League will take too long to act,” Dylan answered, though his next statement shocked himself at the confidence he held saying it. “I can handle this…”

    “James, do you mind staying the night?” Brent asked. “I don’t know when we will get back, and I don’t want to leave the kids here…”

    “I have tomorrow off work,” James replied, nodding. “I’ll keep an eye on them. They’re in their rooms at the moment…”

    “Good,” Brent answered. “Tell them I got asked to work an overnight shift, and Dylan is visiting a friend in Canalave, and will be pretty late.”

    “You don’t want to tell them the truth?”

    “The patient is a friend of Cody’s,” Brent explained. “I have faith in Dylan’s theory, but if we are wrong, I don’t want to get his hopes up…”

    James nodded in understanding, before wishing them luck, as they walked out the back door, into the backyard which sat on the main canal of Canalave. Floating in the canal, rocking gently, was Brent’s boat, Uh-Oh, with the name written upside down.

    “Climb on,” Brent said to Dylan. “Life jackets are in the locker under the bench seat…”

    Dylan nodded, as he made his way to the edge, pulling the boat towards him, before climbing over the ledge. The boat itself was a white and royal blue deck boat, which whilst not overly large, seemed well built and designed, almost reminding Dylan of a scaled down yacht with the quality of it. He opened the locker Brent had mentioned, grabbing two life jackets, donning one, and leaving the other one by the steering wheel. Brent meanwhile had detached the rope that held the bow of the boat steady from the mooring by the canal’s edge, causing the bow to begin to drift out, away from him. He threw the rope onto the boat, as Dylan grabbed it, quickly wrapping it around a hook on port side railing, which he presumed it was stored, before Brent made his way to the stern mooring, detaching the rope, though instead of throwing it over, pulling the boat towards him, and climbing in. He handed the rope to Dylan, who stowed it as he did the port rope, before donning his own life jacket and starting the motor, which roared to life.

    Dylan found a seat, knowing that this island was pretty far north, and they’d be in the boat for hours. Brent showed no hesitation accelerating the boat to the speed limit, though didn’t exceed it, knowing that if the local police boat was between them and the northern entrance to the main canal, time would be wasted while they waited for the infringement. Whilst Dylan understood this, the five knot speed limit felt like a crawl, and when they were a few hundred metres past the entrance to the Canalave Canal, and Brent didn’t have any speed limits as long as they didn’t get within a hundred metres of another boat, or a swimmer, Brent opened up the throttle, accelerating to twenty knots heading northbound.

    It was nearly a little over two hours later when the sun started to set, with Iron Island growing visible over the horizon in the north east. Brent was forced to slow down, explaining to Dylan that while the speed they were going at was suburban street speeds, a car has brakes and tyres to slow it down, whilst a boat can’t actively decelerate, and continuing at twenty knots with limited visibility would be too dangerous to risk, slowing down to ten. As they passed Iron Island, he instructed Dylan in turning on the large headlight to illuminate their path.

    “What’s your plan when you get there?” Brent asked, as they continued travelling north, the sun now below the horizon, and the stars, uninterfered by light pollution or the presence of the moon, were already shining brightly. “I know you said you can handle it, but how do you know that it’s not going to put us both to sleep before we get to the island?”

    “It’s only a theory,” Dylan explained. “Brad said his Cresselia struggled to control her power for about a half day, with the peak of the full moon at the centre of that period. So six hours before and after the full moon, it was losing control. Based on what we know of Legendary Pokemon, those that have some sort of relationship, like Groudon and Kyogre, or the Legendary Titans tend to be equal in terms of power, albeit different from one another. So I think that this Pokemon we’re tracking will be the same. And the new moon isn’t until 5:30 tomorrow morning, which means it shouldn’t lose control and affect us until about 11:30 this evening…”

    “That’s a lot of faith in that one assumption…” Brent said, sounding slightly unconvinced.

    “Think about it. Brad caught Cresselia at exactly 12:07am, just under six hours after the peak of the last new moon, at 6:30pm the evening before,” Dylan explained. “If Cresselia were the thing keeping it at bay, and it now was able to, willingly or not, target people as far away as Canalave, why stop at one?”

    “Maybe it could only affect one at a time?”

    Dylan shook his head.

    “When Pokemon abilities or moves affect others, there are two main types of effects. Dependent and independent. Dependent effects rely on the Pokemon that caused the effect being within range, and able to force the effect to continue. Such as using telepathy or telekinesis. But you said yourself that not even a Legendary Pokemon could spend this long using an ability like that,” Dylan explained. “Which makes me believe that the effect on Joshua is an independent effect. The sort where the Pokemon that caused the effect could drop dead, and the effect still be present until removed by something else. And generally speaking, moves and abilities that can only affect a single Pokemon, are that way because they are dependent.”

    Brent nodded, half understanding Dylan, who reiterated to make it clearer.

    “If this Pokemon was limited by only being able to affect a single target, that limit would be an extension of another, such as concentration, in which case, Joshua would have only been asleep for a few days, before the effect wore off. Or the effect wouldn’t have been noticed, because it would have relied on a link between Joshua and the Pokemon, which seems to only be able to exist during the window around the new moon, which ended before he was expected to wake up…” Dylan explained. “I think that there was only a link between Joshua and this Pokemon for a brief time to have the effect, but isn’t required to maintain it. And by extension, it is possible that if left unchecked, this Pokemon could affect multiple people in Canalave while the window is there.”

    “Okay, so let’s say you’re right, and we’re safe as long as this Pokemon is dealt with before 11:30 this evening,” Brent began. “What about when you fight it? We are basing this on the Pokemon not being in control of its power during this twelve hour window. But if it can do this without intending, surely it can do the same to you, intentionally. And if the effect is independent of the Pokemon, how do we wake Joshua up?”

    “Waking Joshua up is the easy part,” Dylan explained. “If we’re right, Brad’s Cresselia can wake him with one of her feathers. And if nothing else, we can get Brad to come to Canalave. But I might be able to get a hold of a feather before we reach the island, and that should keep me safe…”

    It was nearing ten in the evening when two dark masses appeared on the horizon, only visible by the large headlight mounted to the bow of the boat. Brent, who had much more experience on the water than Dylan, was the first to see them.

    “Which island?” Brent asked, nodding towards them, as they slowly grew in size.

    “The one on the left,” Dylan explained. “This Pokemon is at the one on the right, but there is something I need to check out first…”

    It took another half hour for the small boat to reach the shore of the island that Brad had told Dylan of, where he had battled and captured Cresselia. The island itself was small, roughly double the size of the Eon Academy property on Mossdeep, however the bulk of it was a dense forest that seemed to block out the little light visible from the night sky. Brent quickly tossed the anchor over the side, before climbing out, soaking the bottom half of his scrubs, shoes and socks, and burying it, in order to make sure the boat didn’t drift away. Dylan didn’t bother taking off his socks and shoes, or rolling up his pants. The way he saw it, he didn’t want to dawdle on the other island knowing what was there, and would rather battle, and potentially have to flee with cold, wet shoes, than barefoot.

    “Your friend is brave coming here on the new moon,” Brent muttered, looking at the eerie forest from where he stood on the sandy beach that made up the island's perimeter.

    “I’d say he is lucky more than anything…” Dylan retorted. “I don’t think he knew exactly what to expect, and happened to come here instead of the other island. He chose this one, and left with a Legendary Pokemon, but if he chose the other, I don’t think he would have ever left…”

    Brent shuddered hearing that, as he followed Dylan into the dense forest, both of them holding heavy flashlights.

    “Look for some sort of clearing,” Dylan called out to Brent. “Cresselia wiped out his entire team, which is why he went back to Canalave, instead of checking out the other island, and having battled Brad myself, I don’t think he’d have had a battle like this with no room to move…”

    Brent called out an acknowledgement as the pair made their way through the dense forest, twenty metres apart, swinging their flashlights from side to side. It took twenty minutes for them to find something.

    “Dylan, I’ve found a break…”

    Dylan jogged carefully towards Brent, making the effort to avoid any tree roots that had grown above the surface of the ground and posed a tripping hazard, before finding him on the edge of a large, circular clearing. The circle seemed too perfect...

    “Why would the trees grow everywhere like they have, but not a single one in this clearing, in this shape?” Dylan asked, more so to confirm his own suspicion. “It’s not like trees were even here and just knocked down…”

    He was right. The ground of the clearing was flat, with lush grass, and no sign of any tree debris that was too large to have been carried in by wind. Nor were there any tree stumps. Brent made his way towards one tree, shining his flashlight on it, revealing a large gash on the flesh of it. Whilst it seemed to start to heal over, the gash was deep.

    “Any idea what caused that?”

    “Garchomp,” Dylan said, recognizing the width of the cut as similar to a Garcomp’s fin. “There was a fight here…”

    As Dylan looked around the clearing, more and more, he found evidence of a battle between Brad’s Pokemon and Cresselia. A scorched patch of grass in one place. Some grass trampled by something heavy elsewhere, and a group of twigs which had blown in from the forest, that seemed to have been stood on.

    “Dylan, why are we here, and not on the other island?” Brent asked. “We have less than an hour before the window…”

    “Because I need Cresselia’s feathers to not be at risk of falling asleep,” Dylan explained. “And Joshua needs one to wake up…”

    Dylan looked around, and tried to pick the movement of the battle that had taken place here. He remembered Cresselia’s ability to float above the ground, and began looking at the disturbances he had seen, largely the trampled twigs and grass, as a whole, instead of individual pieces of evidence. Cresselia wouldn’t be leaving tracks like that. He was quickly able to gauge which side of the clearing was Brad’s side of the battlefield, and by extension which one was Cresselia’s. Then he saw them. A flicker of light, reflecting slightly different off the beam of the flashlight to its surroundings.

    Dylan made his way over, and found what he was looking for. Three, curved, rose coloured feathers that matched the shade and texture of Cresselia’s arcing wings.

    “Here,” Dylan called out, keeping his torch on them. Brent made his way over, as Dylan picked them up. “Lunar Feathers…”

    Chapter 5
    It was nearing eleven when Dylan stood off the boat, into the shallow water on the shore of the island that he believed was home to the potentially Legendary Pokemon that was the source of all the pain and confusion being felt by some all the way in Canalave City. He dug into his pocket, before handing Brent one of the three Lunar Feathers.

    “If I’m not back by 2am, go back to Canalave, and get the League to come here, ready to battle a Legendary Pokemon,” Dylan said to Brent, who looked at him in horror.

    “I’m not going to leave you here!”

    “If I don’t come back, it means that I am right about all of this, and Canalave is in danger. By that point, it’s too late to stop people falling asleep during this new moon, but the League can come and stop this from happening next month…” Dylan explained.

    “Still, I’m not leaving you!” Brent answered angrily.

    “How long can the human body survive without water?” Dylan asked, knowing that it could last longer without food.

    “A few days at most…”

    Dylan nodded.

    “Six hours to get here means six hours to get back to Canalave. Even if it takes a day and a half for the League to mobilise, they’ll still be here before we get to that point…” Dylan said. “And if you don’t leave me here, what will you do? Come in for me? You have no Pokemon, and would just end up the same way. We’d both die here. You have Cody and Chelsea back home…”

    Brent scowled, knowing Dylan was right.

    “I still don’t like this…”

    “We don’t have any other options,” Dylan answered, as he looked at his watch. It was now 11:05pm. “I need to go…”

    “Be safe…” Brent said, as Dylan couldn’t help but snort.

    “Nothing about this is safe. But I’ll try…”

    Dylan held Metagross’ Pokeball in his left hand, and the flashlight from Brent’s boat in his right, a Lunar Feather pressed flat between his palm and the cylindrical handle of the flashlight. A light breeze blew through the trees from the ocean surrounding the island, and given how nervous Dylan already felt, the hairs on the back of his neck began to stand.

    One thing he noticed very quickly about this island, after he left Brent and wasn’t distracted by the debate about leaving him, was that the island itself seemed extremely similar to the island where Cresselia was captured, however in another way, not. It took Dylan a few minutes after noticing this to realise what it was. The islands were a mirror image of each other…

    “This is f**king weird…” Dylan muttered to himself, the revelation, whilst giving him somewhat of a clearer idea of where to go, only served to add to his anxiety, as he walked alone through the dark forest of the island, setting a mirrored course to the one he took with Brent on the other island. Sure enough, within minutes, he saw it. A clearing…

    Dylan slowly approached the clearing, considering turning off the flashlight to allow his night vision to improve, however quickly dismissed the idea. It was a new moon meaning that there wasn’t enough natural light to see beyond what his flashlight made difficult to see anyway. His grip tightened on the flashlight, as he started to notice how sweaty his hands were becoming at the fear. Finally he reached the edge of the clearing, and stepped into it, looking around.

    It was empty, and unlike the first island, which he now thought would be appropriate to call Full Moon Island, there was no sign of a fight. He stepped further into the clearing, and was pleasantly surprised to see no Pokemon. He quickly turned around, checking the other side, to make sure he hadn’t missed something, but found himself alone. However, it was within seconds that he realised he was wrong.

    He felt his skin crawl, as though he was being watched by something sinister, and looking around, thought he saw something in his peripheral vision. A shadow cast by his flashlight, that seemed to move just a little bit too slowly…

    Suddenly he felt a wave of fatigue, and a sharp pain in his head. Drowsiness overcame him, making it seem impossible to follow a single thought, or even keep his eyes open. Meanwhile, the pain increased. Dylan cried out in agony, gripping his head roughly, trying to hold it together when it felt like it was going to split, whilst trying to hold onto his grip of Metagross’ Pokeball, the flashlight and the Lunar Feather.

    In the distance, he saw something which caused his heart to stop for a moment. The shadows cast by the dim starlight through the tops of the trees seemed to stop moving in one place, while the rest continued to sway with the wind as normal. Dylan, fighting through the pain, pointed the flashlight towards it, and instead of them disappearing like he would have expected, they remained as a pool of blackness. An absence of light. Slowly, something sinister began to rise out of it…

    The Terror appeared at first to be a tattered piece of black fabric, shaped largely like an hourglass, with two long arms with clawed hands extending from the top corners, and black fabric billowing in the wind from its shoulders. At the top of the hourglass looked to be a red growth, which Dylan thought to look like a jaw, when he saw the single light blue eye above it that stared at him, underneath what looked like white smoke, billowing like hair, and covering where Dylan presumed another eye would be.

    “What the-” Dylan tried to ask, however was losing the battle to remain conscious. He had been so confident that the Lunar Feather would keep him safe, however he realised he was only confident because he had to be. They had no other alternative. If the Lunar Feather didn’t work, then their efforts would have been in vain.

    Dylan was pulled from the self-criticism by a glow coming from his right hand, almost hidden by the torch light. He dropped the torch, which hit the ground with a soft thud, and opened his palm to reveal the Lunar Feather, which was now glowing with a pulsing light.

    As if it had been suffocated by Dylan’s firm grip, when Dylan opened his palm, the light exploded out, and whilst Dylan recoiled from the harsh light, he realised that the drowsiness and pain was gone as quickly as it came. The light ebbed down to a soft glow again, however Dylan felt awake, grabbing the torch, and knowing he had to act now if he wanted to stand a chance.

    “Go Metagross!” Dylan called out, throwing the ball, which illuminated the clearing with its flash of light. As Metagross appeared, Dylan wasted no time pressing the button in the side of his wristwatch.

    Metagross exploded into a rainbow spectrum of light, emerging from it floating, with its four existing limbs pointing forward, and now four smaller limbs pointing behind it. Dylan remembered Jon telling him that on paper, Mega Metagross was as strong as Rayquaza and he knew he’d need every bit of that strength at their disposal.

    “Protect!” Dylan shouted, remembering his own observation about Mega Evolution. It takes a few seconds longer than the physical transformation for the transformation to be complete, leaving Metagross currently in a transition, and not as ready for battle as its appearance would indicate.

    Metagross raised a silver barrier, blocking what Dylan guessed to be a Dark Pulse attack. A shadowy beam hit the barrier, dispersing either side, as the barrier itself disappeared, and The Terror launched a follow up attack.

    It cried out with a shrill sound that resembled fingernails down a chalk-board, before launching a spectral orb of ghostly energy, which struck Metagross, shaking it, however far from knocking it out.

    “Meteor Mash!” Dylan commanded, as Metagross, floating in place, flew forward, slashing at its opponent with its sharp and heavy claws, striking The Terror, and knocking it back. He was thankful that Metagross’ hit seemed to hit harder than the Shadow Ball it took.

    The Terror responded with another Dark Pulse, which Dylan ordered Metagross to block with Protect, however it did something different with its next follow-up attack. It held its clawed hands together, and generated a black and crimson orb between them. Dylan knew Metagross couldn’t reliably use Protect to block subsequent attacks, and called out to his Pokemon.

    “Don’t let it hit you!” Dylan shouted, not able to identify the attack, and figuring it was some sort of signature move. However he was too late.

    The orb launched, and made contact with Metagross. The moment it did, Metagross became encased in a bubble that seemed to be the same colours as the orb that hit it, before it disappeared, and Metagross fell asleep and began to spasm, seeming to be having a nightmare, but also having its energy taken from it.

    Dylan quickly fumbled in his pocket for the second Lunar Feather. This was the last one, having left the third with Brent. However as he thought about that, he remembered something Brent said when he first told Dylan about the situation with Joshua.

    “His brain waves indicate he is dreaming, though he seems to be able to perceive sounds around him, and there is a visible response. But specifically, he is having nightmares…”

    Dylan realised that he may not need the Lunar Feather just yet, and changed tactics.

    “Sleep Talk!” he commanded, figuring if Metagross could use the move during a sleep induced by a Hypnosis attack, or its own Rest induced sleep, this should be no different. Whilst it wasn’t ideal, with Metagross using moves of its own choosing, this was his best bet.

    Despite the nightmares that plagued it, Metagross cried out, before darting forward, remaining asleep all the while, and struck its opponent with a punch from one of its large arms, before its own attack power grew. Dylan recognized it as Power-Up Punch, and at first, wasn’t happy with Metagross using a Fighting Type move that he had presumed to be ineffective, however realised the assumption he had made. Given the way the stories had implied this Pokemon to be some sort of ghost, he had assumed it was a Ghost Type Pokemon. However, it seemed to recoil heavily from the attack, and he realised he was wrong. It was a Dark Type…

    His opponent cried out again, setting Dylan on edge, before it seemed to split into multiple copies of itself, Dylan recognizing the Double Team attack, before calling out to Metagross again.

    “Sleep Talk!”

    Metagross roared, before a faint flow appeared in its eyes, however the Psychic attack was ineffective against the Dark Type Pokemon it faced, which responded in kind with a Dark Pulse that Metagross was unable to block, being thrown back heavily, and struggling to remain floating.

    Dylan grimaced, knowing he had to rely on luck regardless. He could call for another Sleep Talk, and let Metagross attack however it chose in its sleep, or could attempt to give a direct instruction. If this attack that put Metagross to sleep was similar to Hypnosis, or any other move that forces the target to sleep, Metagross should be waking up soon. If it wasn’t however, Dylan may be wasting precious time. He gritted his teeth, before choosing, not letting himself waste time by thinking through, and just committing.

    “Metagross!” he shouted as loud as he could. “Wake the hell up, and use Hammer Arm!”

    The second or so of Dylan waiting to see whether Metagross would respond felt like an eternity, as its opponent, as well as its copies, looking to be lining up a Sucker Punch attack, darted towards it.


    The Pokemon had struck Metagross, a split second before being hit directly by Metagross’ Hammer Arm attack, hitting both the real enemy and its apparitions, which threw it across the clearing, into a tree on the other side. Knowing he had no better opportunity, and risked Metagross being put to sleep again by waiting for one, Dylan pulled an empty Pokeball from his pocket, pressing the button that caused it to expand into its full size, before throwing it at the Pokemon.

    The Pokeball hit the unknown Pokemon directly, sucking it in, before shaking violently on the ground, as Dylan readied another. Metagross was weakened from the attacks it had taken so far, and couldn’t handle another fight. If this Pokemon broke out, Dylan was ready to hit it again.

    The Pokeball continued to shake, for what felt like hours, though was less than a minute, before finally, the shaking ceased, and the light of the button flashed, and let off an audible click…

    Dylan sighed a breath of relief, before calling Metagross back to its Pokeball, and retrieving the one that contained the unknown Pokemon. He looked around the clearing, noting how eerily similar yet different it was to the one on Full Moon Island.

    “I guess this is New Moon Island then…” Dylan muttered to himself, before placing the flashlight in his other hand, and noticing something.

    The Lunar Feather had stopped glowing, and instead of being the rose colour it had been before, was now a pale green, seeming to have been drained of its power. He quickly retrieved the other from his pocket, and noticed it remained unchanged.

    Dylan pocketed both, realising he didn’t want to spend one more moment on this seemingly cursed island than he had to, before making his way back to the shore…

    Chapter 6
    Dylan’s watch read midnight when he found his way to the shore, where Brent’s boat floated, held in place by the anchor Brent had buried in the sand when they arrived. Remembering how close he was to being put to sleep, and potentially never waking up, Dylan called out to Brent.

    “You there Brent?”

    His worry was that the Pokemon’s ability that had almost taken him had been wide reaching, and potentially affected Brent. However, his worries were abated when he heard Brent call out.

    “I’m here,” Brent called back, Dylan unable to see him in the darkness. His flashlight had run out of battery during the walk back, causing him to rely on the torch on his phone, however it barely illuminated more than a few metres in front of him. “Are you okay?”

    “Just,” Dylan replied. “It scared the life out of me, but I caught it…”

    Dylan made his way to the boat, quickly digging up the anchor, before climbing into the boat, as Brent pulled the rope with the anchor on board. He collapsed on the bench seat, sighing for a moment, before removing his soaked shoes, socks, and eventually, jeans, figuring it was pitch black, and Brent would be focusing on the water ahead of them, piloting the boat during the dark hours of the dark night.

    “So what happened?” Brent asked, keeping his eyes fixed on the sea ahead of them.

    “Did you notice that the island is a near perfect mirror image of Full Moon Island?” Dylan asked. Brent nodded, though realised Dylan couldn’t see him in the dark, with their large light mounted to the bow of the boat, before answering in the affirmative. “I used that to find the clearing, and sure enough, it was exactly where it should have been…”

    “How is that possible?” Brent asked. “I mean, these are naturally occurring islands, yet they’re mirror images, containing the Pokemon they do?”

    “No idea, and it creeped me the hell out. I got to the clearing, and it looked like there was nothing there. But I felt like I was being watched the entire time…” Dylan answered. “Then all of a sudden, I felt this sickening drowsiness, and like my head was going to split in half. I practically collapsed…”

    “I heard you scream…” Brent said, his voice shaky at the recollection. “I hated having to wait at the boat…”

    “It was bad. But when it was about to put me to sleep, the Lunar Feather glowed, and the feeling disappeared. But that’s when it appeared…”

    “What was it like?” Brent asked, as Dylan shook his head in disbelief.

    “A living nightmare…” Dylan answered. “Pitch black, made out of some tattered fabric, with this one bright blue eye that stares straight into you. What’s worse is it can melt into shadows. When it rose out of one, I was convinced that I had to be dreaming…”


    “I sent out Metagross, and The Terror put Metagross to sleep, but what you told me about Joshua being still able to perceive sounds, and having a reaction in his brain waves, helped. I figured that if Joshua could hear what was being said, and was just unable to wake up and trapped in the nightmare, Metagross would be able to hear me,” Dylan explained. “I bought some time using Sleep Talk, which basically gets Metagross to act, but I can’t get it to do anything specific. Then after a few attacks, Metagross woke up…”

    “Metagross woke up on its own?” Brent asked in shock. “How? Joshua has been sleeping for nearly a month…”

    “I’ve been thinking about that myself,” Dylan explained. “When Metagross got put to sleep by the attack, it automatically started having nightmares, without The Terror using a Nightmare attack. Which likely means it has an ability that affects its opponents that way when they go to sleep…”

    Dylan considered his words carefully.

    “I think the reason that Metagross woke up eventually is because it was put to sleep by an attack, the same way it would if another Pokemon used Hypnosis on it, and by extension, I think that if the Lunar Feather had have failed, and this thing put me to sleep before the battle started like it tried to, if the nightmares and the energy drain from them didn’t kill me first, I would have woken up before too long…” Dylan explained. “But I think that what happened to Joshua is this Pokemon losing control of the nightmare ability it has from the new moon. So if we had been two hours later, and been affected by the Pokemon losing control of its ability, we wouldn’t have woken up…”

    Brent shuddered at the thought, as Dylan looked at the Pokeball.

    “What are you going to do with it?” Brent asked. “The Pokemon.”

    “First, I’ll try and find out what I can about it,” Dylan explained. “It’s obviously a Legendary Pokemon, but I don’t even know what Pokemon it is, or what it’s capable of. After that, I guess I will train it…”

    “Is that wise?” Brent asked. “We came here when we did because of how dangerous it is…”

    “I’ll keep it in its Pokeball during the new moon. But outside of that twelve hour window once a month, it’s no more dangerous than any other Legendary Pokemon, and if Jon and Charlotte could train Deoxys to be safe, I think I can train this…” Dylan explained. “Honestly, I don’t think it is a vicious Pokemon. I think it lost control of its power without Cresselia there to keep that at bay, and defended itself because I trespassed at its home. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s never seen a human, or even another Pokemon before, and freaked out a little…”

    “That’s a lot of assuming…”

    “Which I will confirm with Jon’s Latios when I return home. Hence step one being to learn what I can about the Pokemon. If the Pokemon is naturally aggressive, Latios will be able to see for sure, and we work from there. But I doubt it…” Dylan said. “I’ve got an eye for these things…”

    As they spoke, Dylan remembered something.

    “Your Lunar Feather,” Dylan said. “Mind if I take a look at it?”

    Dylan had his two, one which had been expended, and Dylan figured was now a glorified keepsake, and another which still seemed to be functional. Brent handed him the one he kept in his pocket, and Dylan was relieved to see that it remained unused. It matched Dylan’s unused one in its rose colouring, helping to cement Dylan’s theory about the Pokemon. He was half worried that when it tried to put Dylan to sleep, it may have reached the shore, causing Brent’s Lunar Feather to activate. However, Brent didn’t seem to notice any effect while Dylan was gone, and his Lunar Feather remained unused. This meant Dylan could be sure that outside of the new moon window, his new Pokemon was just as dangerous as any other.

    The sun was only just beginning to rise when ɥO-ɥ∩ reached Canalave City. Exhausted, Brent moored the boat at the mooring in his backyard, as Dylan, who by this point didn’t care enough to be willing to put on his still damp jeans when it became lighter, climbed out, quickly going into the house, where James, Cody and Chelsea were all sleeping, to get some dry pants, socks and shoes. Brent did the same, albeit was still wearing his damp clothes, before they got into Brent’s car, and made their way directly to the hospital.

    It was nearing 6:30am when they arrived, both rushing through the front doors, with the receptionist, one different to the one who Dylan spoke to the afternoon before, shocked to see them.

    “Dr. Ashton, your shift doesn’t start until ten,” the receptionist said, as Brent waved her inquiry aside.

    “Has there been any change in Joshua Taylor’s condition?” Brent asked, his tone much more forceful than he intended.

    “No, still exactly the same-” the receptionist began, however Brent had heard enough, walking towards a hallway, Dylan following close behind him.

    “Catching this Pokemon hasn’t changed anything,” Brent explained. “It’s been six or seven hours, and he is still asleep, so I really hope this Lunar Feather works…”

    Dylan remained silent. He had dragged Brent to some unmarked island in the middle of nowhere at a moment’s notice, because it may help Joshua. And whilst Dylan’s theory up until now had been proven all but correct, and made Joshua’s chances pretty good, he was still anxious that it may not work, in which case, they’re back at the same place they were at twenty-four hours earlier.

    Brent rounded a final corner, before entering a private room, where laying on a bed in a hospital gown, was a boy who looked to be in his mid teens. He was shorter than average, and had a naturally pale complexion. His hair was bright orange, standing out against the white bedding, and his face was heavily freckled. Surrounding him were different monitors, as well as an intravenous drip, which had been inserted into a tube in his forearm.

    “Should we get his parents here for this?” Dylan asked Brent, who shook his head.

    “I don’t want to get their hopes up,” Brent answered. “If this works, they’re going to get the best news of their lives. If it doesn’t, they don’t need to know that we have tried and failed…”

    Dylan nodded, as Brent removed the Lunar Feather from his pocket, before opening Joshua’s clenched fist, placing his palm up. He gently placed the rose coloured feather into Joshua’s hand, as he and Dylan stood back to watch.

    The feather sat there, unchanging, and Dylan felt his heart sink.

    “Come on, you b*****d…” Brent muttered, directing the curse at the feather. “Work, damn you…”

    A minute passed, as Dylan sighed in disappointment. He looked at the ground, unable to bring himself to look at Joshua. He had gone to such great lengths to try and figure all this out, and in the end, it didn’t get them any closer to waking the boy up…

    “Dylan, look…”

    It was Brent speaking, his voice almost a whisper. Dylan looked up to see the Lunar Feather, emanating a soft glow from it. It was faint, and Dylan at first thought he was imagining what he wanted to see, however Brent could see it too. Another minute passed, as the glow increased slowly. Eventually, Dylan couldn’t look at the harsh light of the glow directly, before the glow seemed to explode into a blinding light, before ebbing away, leaving a green feather in Joshua’s hand.

    “Did it work?” Dylan asked, looking at Brent, whose gaze was fixed on Joshua. Dylan looked back towards Joshua, and noticed something. A movement. His hand, clasping closed over the Lunar Feather…

    “Joshua,” Brent said softly. “Can you hear me?”

    There was a moment of silence, before a small voice broke it.

    “Where am I?”

    It was almost a whisper, as Joshua’s eyes opened, and he slowly covered them with his empty right hand, trying to block out the jarring light of the hospital room whilst his eyes adjusted to it. Dylan breathed a deep sigh of relief, before stumbling back to collapse into the visitors chair in the corner of the room, suddenly feeling the fatigue of having been awake for the last twenty four hours.

    “You’re safe. This is Canalave Hospital,” Brent said, forcing himself to remain professional, when really he wasn’t sure whether he wanted more to cheer loudly and wake every other patient in the ward up, or just go sleep where he stood. “You’re okay…”

    Chapter 7
    Once Brent was confident Joshua wasn’t going to panic, he quickly left the room to notify his colleagues on night shift that Joshua had just woken up, before calling Joshua’s parents to tell them the good news.

    Whilst Dylan thought Brent would want to wait around to speak to Joshua’s parents, as soon as he was off the phone, and he was content that those currently on shift would be looking after Joshua until his parents arrived, he took the day off, despite objections, stating he spent the last twelve hours of his own time tracking down a cure for his patient, and if that hasn’t earned him a day to recover and get some sleep, nothing will. When Dylan had asked Brent whether he should have waited to speak to Joshua’s parents before leaving, he simply said that they would be that ecstatic that their son was awake after so long, that if they had a day to spend with him, not having to worry about chatting with doctors about what happened, they’d probably be thankful more than anything.

    They returned to Brent’s house, as James was about to leave, taking Cody and Chelsea to school, Brent quickly telling James not to worry about picking them up from school, but to come around for dinner that evening, to make up for the overnight watch he’d picked up at a moment's notice.

    Dylan made his way to the guest room, and was planning on making up for the lack of sleep he had suffered through the evening before, when his phone began to ring. He pulled it from his pocket, and was somewhat surprised to see Steven Stone as the caller ID. He pressed the button to answer it, however couldn’t stifle a yawn as he said hello.

    “Steven,” Dylan yawned. “What’s going on?”

    “I could be asking you the same question,” Steven said. “Both because it sounds like you haven’t slept in days, and I have this weird report in front of me…”

    “I was out all night,” Dylan answered. “Something came up in Canalave. What’s this report?”

    “This report I presume is the reason you were out all night…” Steven answered. “At 7am this morning, the League was notified that a trainer who resides in Mossdeep caught a Pokemon which the wavelength data its Pokeball captured matches none in our records…”

    “Geez, you don’t even know what it is?” Dylan asked, slightly disappointed. “I have been calling it the Pokemon, or The Terror because I have no clue what it is…”

    ”So you did catch something…” Steven asked. ”I half thought there was a malfunction with the Pokeball’s chip, and it was sending through bad results.

    “I caught something. I’m pretty sure it’s a Legendary Pokemon. From hundreds of kilometres away, it put a kid into a deep sleep that he wasn’t waking up from…” Dylan said, before reiterating. “The kid’s okay now. But this thing is terrifying…”

    Steven was quiet for a moment before he spoke.

    ”You’re coming back to Mossdeep in the next few days, aren’t you?” Steven asked, and Dylan answered in the affirmative. ”Don’t let it out of the Pokeball until you get back. I’ll convince the League to delay their investigation into it, on the basis that I’ll be inspecting it personally if we can wait a few days. Then you, Jon and I can look this Pokemon over, and figure out what it is, and what it’s capable of…”

    “Do you think the League will want to take it away? Like the military tried with Deoxys?” Dylan explained. “I have a pretty solid understanding of its power and how to make sure there isn’t another incident like the one here…”

    ”If we can find out more about it, and confirm that it is safe in your hands, I don’t see why you can’t hold onto it,” Steven answered. ”Let’s just focus on getting it to Mossdeep without incident and working things out from there…”

    “Agreed,” Dylan explained. “I’ve been out all night tracking this thing down, so am going to catch up on sleep today, and probably get a plane from Jubilife tomorrow night. So I’ll be back in a few days…”

    Dylan ended the call, feeling even more tired than before his phone rang, before finally collapsing into the comfort of his temporary bed. The blinds in the guest bedroom he slept in did little to block the morning light that filtered through, and while this would normally be enough for Dylan to struggle to sleep, exhaustion played enough of a role that he was able to sleep within minutes.

    Dylan awoke that afternoon to the sound of the garage door opening downstairs, and a car entering, before the engine was stopped, and the garage door began to close. It had only been six hours, and while Dylan’s first thought was to simply go back to sleep for another two or three hours, he knew if he did that, he would simply mess up his sleeping pattern. It was mid afternoon, and if he were to survive the rest of the day with the level of tiredness he felt now, and go to bed at eleven like he normally would, he would be more likely to get to sleep, and somehow restore his sleep cycle.

    He got up slowly, noting how thirsty he felt, and made his way out into the upstairs hallway, walking down the stairs, as the door from the garage opened, and Chelsea rushed through the door, dropping her school back by the base of the stairs, and kicking off her shoes, before rushing up the stairs.

    “Hey Dylan,” she said as she rushed past him, not allowing any time for a response. Brent was the next to enter from the garage, followed by Cody, who went straight to the kitchen.

    “Hey, how’re you feeling?” Brent asked, noticing Dylan halfway down the stairs.

    “Still tired, but if I go back to sleep, I’ll become nocturnal,” Dylan mused. “How about you?”

    “Exhausted,” Brent answered. “If you’re going to be staying up, do you mind hanging around here? I’d love to get another hour or two of rest before I start working on dinner, and don’t want to leave Cody and Chelsea by themselves.”

    “That’s fine,” Dylan answered, as Brent nodded his thanks, before making his way up the stairs. As he passed Dylan, he briefly patted him on the shoulder.

    “I didn’t get a chance to say this before, but you did really well. With everything…” Brent said. “Most people finding out they have an adult son would be shocked, but honestly, I’m proud more than anything…”

    “Thanks…” Dylan replied, unsure how to respond to it. He never enjoyed being the centre of attention, and always felt uncomfortable when praised. Brent nodded, before heading upstairs. Dylan stood quietly for a moment. Before he lived with Jon, he couldn’t remember ever being told that somebody was proud of him. And even though Jon hadn’t hesitated to say it, especially in light of how Dylan had handled himself both during the Deoxys incident, and the battle against the College of the North Wind, it was different to hear it said from a parent, even if a month back, Brent was a total stranger to him.

    He regained his senses, realizing the tiredness he felt was causing him to stare off into space when he started thinking too hard, and went downstairs to the kitchen, eager to get something to drink.

    In his fatigue, he had already forgotten Cody had gone into the kitchen, and was slightly surprised to see the boy sitting at the table, phone in front of him, with a glass of lemonade. Cody looked up at him for a moment, though said nothing and looked back to his phone.

    Dylan made his way to the cabinets, reaching to the top ones. He opened the first, and found a stack of pots and pans. In the next, a basket containing different medications, and in the third, wine glasses.

    “Glasses are in the big drawer by the sink…”

    Dylan turned, to see Cody looking at him, before gesturing with his head towards the fridge.

    “Thanks,” Dylan said, shaking off the shock. Cody hadn’t spoken a full sentence to Dylan outside of the quiet greeting when he first met him. The only thing Dylan had heard Cody say was when he asked Brent if Dylan was staying here.

    Dylan grabbed a glass, taking it to the sink, and turning on the tap, filling it with water, before trying his luck, and sitting at the table opposite Cody, pulling out his own phone, and browsing through Instagram, thankful that the sheer number of new followers was gradually dropping.

    There were a few minutes of silence, before Dylan was shocked at it being broken.

    “Dad told me what you did for Josh,” Cody said quietly, causing Dylan to look up, slightly surprised. “Thank you…”

    Dylan nodded at Cody. Whilst part of him wanted to try and use this as a lever to open up more conversation, he knew in his earlier years that he’d hate someone doing that to him, so avoided it, instead, answering simply.

    “I’m glad I could help…”

    If Dylan expected that to be all Cody wanted to say, he was wrong. Cody, now having spoken to Dylan, continued.

    “How were you able to figure out what was happening, and where the Nightmare Pokemon was?” Cody asked, unable to hide the curiosity in his voice. “Dad called the League about it, and they said it was impossible…”

    “I have made the mistake before of writing something off as impossible, and being proven wrong. But I was very lucky. Certain things happened, and certain people said certain things which helped me figure it out. Even Andrew, the man who lives out on Main Street,” Dylan explained. “The librarian at the library, and especially Brad, the guy from Jubilife that I battled the other day. Honestly, if I hadn’t met any one of those three, chances are we wouldn’t have figured out what was wrong, and there would have been even more people in the same situation as Joshua…”

    Cody went quiet hearing that, and Dylan began to wonder if he made a mistake being that honest with him about the danger the people of Canalave had been in.

    “So you stopped the Nightmare Pokemon?” Cody asked. “It’s gone?”

    Dylan unclipped the Pokeball containing The Terror, careful not to let the Pokemon out.

    “It’s in here. I caught it…” Dylan explained. “It wasn’t trying to hurt people, but would lose control of its powers, and the Pokemon that kept it at bay when that happened had been captured the night before Joshua went to hospital. It won’t be doing anything like it did to Joshua again…”

    Cody looked at the Pokeball a little nervously, as Dylan continued.

    “When I get back to Hoenn, I’ll learn what I can about it, and train it to make sure it is safe,” Dylan said. “I don’t think it’s a bad Pokemon. I think it just lost control of its powers, and when I arrived, it was scared of me, and attacked…”

    “What was it like to battle?” Cody asked, sounding slightly in awe.

    “Terrifying,” Dylan answered, before offering a reassuring grin. “It was a dark forest at midnight, and it appeared out of the shadows. I was honestly scared s**tless…”

    Cody grinned at Dylan’s assessment of the battle, as Dylan asked a question.

    “Do you have any Pokemon?”

    “Three. A Luxio, Riolu and Eevee,” Cody explained as Dylan grinned.

    “My friends have a Luxray, Lucario and Glaceon each. They’re all strong Pokemon,” Dylan answered. “I think once the three of them are a little more experienced, you’ll be able to battle with the best…”

    Before Cody could reply, Chelsea rushed into the room, Dylan soon learning that walking pace was a foreign concept to her, getting a drink herself, and joining them at the table, with a million and one questions about what happened the night before.

    Brent awoke two hours later, and began cooking dinner, kicking Dylan, Cody and Chelsea out of the kitchen, as to not get in his way, and at Chelsea’s begging, with Cody agreeing with her, although a little less vocally, they spent some time in the early evening in the backyard, Dylan showing his siblings his other Pokemon, with the exception of his most recent. He had Metagross, Dusknoir, Flygon, Sceptile and Walrein with him, and all five made an appearance at different times, much to Chelsea’s delight, though Dylan was sure Cody enjoyed seeing them as well.

    Through the open kitchen window, the sound of the speaker for the doorbell chiming was heard, and Brent called asking if someone could get that, as he couldn’t leave the stir fry he was cooking unattended. Chelsea, in her typical manner, rushed for the door, Dylan following behind at a more reasonable pace, to let James in, greeting her uncle with a hug, before rushing back outside. Seeing Dylan, James approached, shaking his hand and greeting him, Dylan responding in kind.

    The five of them ate dinner in the larger dining room, which only really seemed to be used for bigger meals that needed more real estate on the table, or when there were too many people for the small dining table in the kitchen. Once the meal was over, Cody and Chelsea were told to do their homework in their rooms, leaving Dylan, Brent and James in the dining room, talking somewhat about the events of the night before. During a lull in the conversation, Brent turned to Dylan, seeming to remember something.

    “Dylan, what was it you wanted to know about our family?” Brent asked, as Dylan realized he had completely forgotten about his original reason for coming to Canalave. “You mentioned it may help with a diagnosis?”

    “Somewhat,” Dylan said, trying to figure out how best to word it.

    “I can give you guys a minute,” James offered, though Dylan shook his head. This involved James, and he didn’t want to have him kicked out of the room when he was likely going to be mentioned.

    “You know how I told you Mum walked out ten years ago?” Dylan asked Brent, who nodded. “She arrived out of nowhere at the Academy during the summer…”

    Brent looked slightly surprised to hear this, wondering what this had to do with the information Dylan wanted, so he continued.

    “She came because she was losing her hearing. Her mother had lost all of her hearing by the time she was fifty, and they always blamed that on her working in a noisy factory,” Dylan explained. “But when Mum started losing her hearing in her mid forties, she realized that may not have been the case, and had it looked into…”

    “It’s genetic?” Brent asked, the medical professional in him putting the pieces together. Dylan nodded.

    “Neurofibromatosis 2,” Dylan answered. “It causes benign tumours to grow, and the biggest effect of that is loss of hearing. It’s recessive which means that I have inherited the faulty gene from her regardless, but I will only get it if I inherit the same gene from you as well…”

    Brent nodded, understanding Dylan’s concern as Dylan continued.

    “I got your name from Mum and first looked you up, wanting to ask if there was a history of somewhat early onset hearing loss in your family,” Dylan explained, before looking towards James. “Except I saw a photo on your Facebook of the two of you together, and saw James’ hearing aid, which answered the question…”

    Dylan turned to James, directing his question towards his uncle.

    “So James, if I may ask, what caused you to lose your hearing?”

    James looked at Brent, unable to hide a grin, as Brent breathed a sigh of relief. After a few seconds, both began to laugh, as Dylan looked between them in shock.

    “Am I missing something?” Dylan asked the pair, causing them to laugh even harder. Brent managed to compose himself.

    “You are, something huge…”

    “And that is?” Dylan asked, unsure of what was going on.

    “James is adopted…”

    Dylan’s eyes widened, and his jaw dropped a little, which was noticed by both laughing men, which only served to increase their amusement.

    “So what about your family then?” Dylan asked Brent. “Is there any unexplained deafness?”

    Brent shook his head, composing himself before continuing.

    “When Erin and I wanted to have kids, I’d been practising medicine for a few years, and working in the hospital, you end up having to give lots of bad news, and I’ve delivered my own fair share of bad news regarding genetic disorders,” Brent explained. “We wanted to have kids, but I was terrified of potentially passing on something to my children that I wasn’t aware of. So we both got a pretty comprehensive genetic screening, and if anything came up that we were worried about, we decided we would adopt instead.”

    “And it came back clear?” Dylan asked. Brent nodded.

    “My DNA contains no abnormal NF2 gene,” Brent explained. “Which means that you’re a carrier, inheriting it from your mother, and if you have children with another carrier, there is a one in four chance your child could have it. However, it is impossible for you to have it yourself…”

    Dylan breathed a visible sigh of relief, causing Brent to grin and James to crack up laughing again.

    “I think I need a beer…” Dylan said through a chuckle, which James chorused his agreement with.

    “I think we all do…”

    A few minutes later, Brent handed James and Dylan a beer each, having already removed the bottle caps, and holding one for himself. The trio clinked the bottlenecks against each other, before taking a sip. Dylan leant back a little, feeling for the first time in over two months that he could relax…
    Last edited by [Desolate Divine]; 04-09-2023 at 07:51 AM.

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  4. #113
    I came in like a wrecking ball... [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    First Season 3 Epilogue done. One more, and then we begin Spiritwater...

  5. #114
    Cheers and good times! Neo Emolga's Avatar
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    Dang good stuff!

    Ok, that was definitely a fun mini-mystery and adventure spinoff and at first I naturally thought the homeless guy, Andrew, was muttering nonsense until it hit Dylan “where did I hear that before” and then I knew what the significance was. Clever play on that! I also didn't think Brad having Cresslia on his team roster was going to be a factor beyond the battle Brad and Dylan had, but surprise!

    Dylan’s investigation into Darkrai and his mission to capture it was a fun read and learning more about Brent’s life was great background as well. Nice job with this mini story, but now I’m curious to see how things will go for Dylan and Darkrai. Will Darkrai need that extra TLC to maintain control over like Deoxys did, or will it be a bit more amicable? I’m thinking its response is not going to be something I expect, though. You’re good at surprising the reader and avoiding common themes, tropes, and clichés, that’s for sure!

    Also, that was a great way to wrap up the adventure and to finally learn Dylan’s safe from Neurofibromatosis 2. I didn’t even know that was a real medical disorder prior to reading this story, but props on doing your homework for it and finding an inventive way to implement it into this story.

  6. #115
    I came in like a wrecking ball... [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neo Beautifly View Post
    Dang good stuff!

    Ok, that was definitely a fun mini-mystery and adventure spinoff and at first I naturally thought the homeless guy, Andrew, was muttering nonsense until it hit Dylan “where did I hear that before” and then I knew what the significance was. Clever play on that! I also didn't think Brad having Cresslia on his team roster was going to be a factor beyond the battle Brad and Dylan had, but surprise!

    Dylan’s investigation into Darkrai and his mission to capture it was a fun read and learning more about Brent’s life was great background as well. Nice job with this mini story, but now I’m curious to see how things will go for Dylan and Darkrai. Will Darkrai need that extra TLC to maintain control over like Deoxys did, or will it be a bit more amicable? I’m thinking its response is not going to be something I expect, though. You’re good at surprising the reader and avoiding common themes, tropes, and clichés, that’s for sure!

    Also, that was a great way to wrap up the adventure and to finally learn Dylan’s safe from Neurofibromatosis 2. I didn’t even know that was a real medical disorder prior to reading this story, but props on doing your homework for it and finding an inventive way to implement it into this story.

    Glad you enjoyed it. I'm actually surprised at how well I managed to turn it into a mystery when anyone who has read spiritwater knows Dylan has Darkrai. Having Cresselia play a role in Dylan finding it added a layer of mystery to something that was already spoiled for lack of better words.

    NF2 is actually a disorder that was in my family, hence why I was knowledgeable about it haha the only thing that I changed was that NF2 is actually a dominant gene, not recessive meaning that unless Dylan's mother inherited it from both parents, there was only a 50/50 chance he would have it, and it wouldn't give any incentive to find his father.

    Much like Jon knowing each student needs something different, I think Darkrai will need a different type of attention to Deoxys. Darkrai's hurdles are that it isn't used to people and can't control its power completely. I have ideas on how Dylan will address that it but won't be anywhere near as long winded as Deoxys training.

    My grandfather, his sister and his mother all had it. But nobody knew what it was until my mum was pregnant with me. She found out and got tested pretty quickly. Basically my grandfathers three kids all had a 50/50 chance of getting it, but miraculously none did, which means in our family it died with him.

    Working on Epilogue 2 though need to make a point of getting some stuff done today. But will hopefully write that up today to wrap up season 3.

  7. #116
    I came in like a wrecking ball... [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    Season 3 Epilogue 2: Sickness

    Chapter 1
    The weather was already starting to cool, with mid-autumn bringing with it the first chills of winter. It was late October, when Chris found himself sitting alone around a campfire in a clearing off the trail that cut through Eterna Forest. Behind him, sat a small swag, next to his parked motorcycle, which was his primary form of transport while he travelled.

    It was late in the evening of October 28th, with the quarter moon in the sky above, dimly lighting the forest, as Chris listened in silence to the cries of the wild Pokemon. He had only one reason to stay awake. When the clock struck midnight, it would be his eighteenth birthday. He didn’t know what he was really staying up for. It wasn’t like he was in a city where he could now find an open bar and get himself a drink. Even if he had stayed in Eterna City, most bars would be closed by midnight on a Wednesday evening. Even in Jubilife, he’d be struggling to find one open.

    Honestly, Chris didn’t know why he was staying up until midnight. The year before, he had been in Blackthorn City, and Abbee at her home in Goldenrod, and she had made a point of messaging him at exactly midnight. And whilst deep down he hoped that would happen, if not Abbee, someone else, he knew he was being silly hoping for such a thing. But still, he waited in silence.

    In the month since Chris had left his home in Blackthorn City, having bought his motorcycle, as well as other gear to live on the road like he planned, practically every night was spent like this. He used to let one of his Pokemon out of the Pokeball to keep him company, however found himself talking to them often, and more often seeming to want an answer back, even though it wasn’t possible. As such, he stopped, spending plenty of time with his Pokemon during battles and training, as well as other times during the day, but when he was alone with his thoughts of an evening, not letting himself project onto his Pokemon.

    He’d occasionally fill time by texting, or even calling Justin or Charlotte. However, he also was self-conscious of potentially being a pest to them by constantly reaching out, and as such, limited his contact with them. They were his closest friends, and didn’t want to risk driving them away by being too clingy, and as such, isolated himself further. He found himself wishing that he and Abbee were in contact, however when he realised where his thoughts were going, quickly dismissed them.

    Chris, dwelling on his thoughts, had been staring intently at the fire for the last half hour, with nothing else to take in around him, and nobody to see him staring off into space. His attention was pulled by his phone ringing with the alarm tone. He had set the alarm for midnight, and quickly dismissed the noise it made. He sighed to himself.

    “Happy Birthday to me…” he muttered, scoffing at himself for even thinking that it was anything important, before standing to his feet. He grabbed a water bottle from his bag, and poured it over the fire, before kicking dirt over it for good measure. The fire hissed as the water evaporated into steam, and Chris found himself standing in near darkness, his night vision having been diminished by the firelight, and his eyes taking their time to adjust. He made his way towards the swag, removing his shoes, and climbing in. He zipped the door behind him, as he lay in his sleeping bag, still dwelling on the loneliness he felt. As he did though, he had an idea.

    Chris had finished his last tournament in Sinnoh in Eterna City a few days earlier, and his original plan was to take a boat from Canalave City the day after his birthday to Vermillion City in Kanto. He had a tournament there on November 10th, and was going to be spending nine days travelling between Sinnoh and Kanto on the ship that would take him. Whilst the ship took a while, it was necessary for him to have transport in whatever region he visited, as it was the only way to take his motorcycle with him. However, just because his motorcycle had to go by sea, that didn’t mean he had to.

    He quickly googled a Canalave based shipping company for a quote on shipping his belongings to Vermillion and found it to not be much more expensive than his ticket for the ship he was going to take and the cost for him to fly to Vermillion a week from that day. Whilst he’d likely have to stay in a city, given there being few places within walking distance of the cities where he could set up his swag, a few nights in a hotel would be a pleasant change of scenery from roughing it most nights like he had been for the last month.

    Excited, Chris made the booking then and there, organising for his bike to be transported, buying a ticket to fly to Vermillion on November 8th, and booking a hotel in Jubilife for the next week, using up the bulk of the winnings from the last tournament he had won. It was nearly 1am when he finished, and too excited to wait until morning, he sent Justin and Charlotte a message.

    “Hey, there’s been a change of plans. Instead of taking a ship from Canalave on the 30th, I’m going to be sending my bike across to Vermillion on the 30th, and spending a bit over a week in Jubilife, before flying out to Vermillion on the 8th.

    As of an hour ago, I’m eighteen, and we can now hit up a bar. I’ll be in town, so keep Saturday November 7th free to find somewhere cool and have a few drinks. Justin, if that’s a weekend Candice is visiting, bring her along. Charlotte, you mentioned when I saw you last you were spending some time at home during November, and flying out halfway through, so you’ve got no excuse.

    See you both then.”

    Chris locked his phone, feeling much better than he did an hour ago, at the prospect of actually being able to celebrate his eighteenth birthday with his friends. He placed it in the pocket that hung from the wall of the swag, before closing his eyes, suddenly feeling much more exhausted, and going to sleep…

    Chapter 2
    It was nearing 10am when Justin awoke. It was a Thursday, however his classes started at 2pm, allowing him to stay up until a little after midnight that morning, and sleep in. His phone next to him was beeping with an alarm he had set to not let himself sleep in too late, and risk messing up his sleeping pattern. Whilst he had that morning to sleep in, between his heavy workload for his course, the extra study he put in, in addition to his job at the local Pokemon Trainer School, time like this was a once a week occurrence.

    The small apartment Justin rented was already awash with natural light, though being well and truly into autumn, there was a slight chill, causing Justin to wrap himself tighter in his blanket, after he turned off the alarm. Looking at his phone, Justin saw he had received two messages. One from Chris at 1am the morning before, and one from Charlotte two hours previous.

    “Hey, there’s been a change of plans. Instead of taking a ship from…” was the preview for the message from Chris, however the second took him by surprise.


    Justin did a double take, wondering what had caused Charlotte to abuse the caps-lock on her phone, before opening the message, and seeing nothing else. He quickly sat upright, before climbing out of bed, and getting dressed, before calling Charlotte.

    ”You’re finally awake,” Charlotte answered. Justin couldn’t help but grin.

    “I have Thursday mornings off, so why wouldn’t I enjoy a nice sleep in?” Justin retorted, before getting serious. “What’s going on? Why can’t I look at Chris’ message?”

    Charlotte was quiet for a second, before answering.

    “Your classes aren’t until this afternoon, right?” Charlotte asked, though didn’t wait for a reply. ”Can we get lunch?”

    A little over an hour later, Justin and Charlotte found themselves sitting in a cafe, having just ordered, and now waiting for their food. Justin noticed a few glances from people, who seemed to recognize the pair.

    “Knowing my luck, someone will take a photo of us, and Silver Wing News will be telling everyone you and I are having some secret affair behind Candice’s back,” Justin joked, as Charlotte rolled her eyes.

    “I could do better,” Charlotte retorted, earning a grin from Justin, though Justin wasn’t here for a casual lunch, granted he was always down for that.

    “So what’s going on?” Justin asked. “Why can’t I read Chris’ message?”

    “Don’t read it from yours. I don’t want him to see you read it and then take a while to respond,” Charlotte said, handing Justin her phone. “I’ve already read it and replied, so you can read it from mine…”

    Justin looked at the message, reading through it quickly.

    “It’ll be good to see him,” Justin said, as he handed the phone back, not having read Charlotte’s reply. “Honestly, I’ve been worried about him since the end of summer.”

    Charlotte nodded.

    “Same, and I do want to see him…” Charlotte explained. “But I’m kind of extorting him, and I want you to do the same…”

    Justin looked at Charlotte, puzzled, as she continued.

    “He’s burnt bridges with Dylan, Abbee, and I suspect Jon as well. And honestly, it’s not good for him…” Charlotte explained. “I’ve known Chris for years, even before the Academy, and whilst he has always been a bit of a loose cannon, the way he has been acting recently is different…”

    Justin nodded in agreement. Chris hadn’t been himself, and honestly, Justin was worried about him.

    “I know what you mean,” Justin answered. “After he and Abbee broke up, he just wasn’t himself. He was always one of the most fun-loving people I knew, but towards the end of summer, even when he beat Natasha King, he didn’t seem as happy as he would have been if it happened three months earlier…”

    “I saw him a few weeks ago. We were both in Sunyshore City for different tournaments. He was still in the Junior Circuit, and I was in the Standard Circuit. And he seemed to be worse than when summer ended,” Charlotte explained. “Honestly, I think he’s lonely. He’s travelling alone, and cut off half the people who used to support him. And I think he’s isolating himself. Did you notice this was the first message he sent either of us that wasn’t on a Friday night?”

    Justin hadn’t noticed that pattern. However, as he remembered when Chris’ previous messages had arrived, he realised Charlotte was right.

    “Do you think there’s something behind that?” Justin asked, as Charlotte nodded.

    “Chris is the first to blame himself for something. Abbee told me he blamed himself and our rivalry when I injured Luxray, and I know he felt responsible for Jon’s history with Lance, before Jon found out about it, being family,” Charlotte explained. “And I know when Dylan seemed to be a little standoffish towards him, his first thought was he had done something to anger him, and apologised…”

    Charlotte swirled the straw in her glass of juice, considering how best to explain it.

    “But since everything with Abbee went to s**t, when he blames himself for something, he isn’t acting on it. Instead of making things right when he thinks he did something wrong, like he used to, it's as if something is stopping him…” Charlotte explained, and Justin nodded.

    “His pride…” Justin answered. “It took a hit, and now instead of his common sense driving the train, it’s his pride, trying to protect itself…”

    Charlotte nodded in agreement.

    “Honestly, I think Chris knows he has acted out of line. He was this close to apologising to Dylan before he saw him with Abbee at the prom,” Charlotte explained. “And I think the reason he only reaches out to us on Fridays, is because he is worried if he sends a message more often just to chat, we’ll get irritated by him, and he’ll be even more alone…”

    Justin sighed, as Charlotte continued.

    “Which leads me to this,” Charlotte said, gesturing to her phone, which was still open with Chris’ message. “Honestly, I don’t think Abbee, Dylan and Jon are going to get an apology out of Chris, but thankfully, I don’t think any of them are stubborn enough to require it. I think that they will be willing to look past what has happened enough to give Chris a chance to make amends, even if it is just looking past recent history, and having a nice night out together…”

    “You think you can convince him to invite the three of them?” Justin asked, as Charlotte shook her head.

    “Not Jon. It would be too much. But Dylan and Abbee…” Charlotte said, before finally saying it. “I told Chris that I would only come if he invited Dylan and Abbee as well…”

    Justin’s eyes widened at Charlotte’s tactic, as she continued.

    “He has already booked for his bike to be shipped to Vermillion, a hotel in Jubilife, and a flight in a bit over a week…” Charlotte explained. “He has spent a fair bit of money trying to organise this, and I think that prospect of that going to waste could be enough to get him to swallow his pride for a night and invite them. Especially if you tell him the same thing…”

    “But what if he just cuts us off, like he did to them?” Justin asked. “He’s my best friend, even if he’s going through a rough patch, and I’m worried about how he would cope if he cut off the only two of us who were still in touch with him…”

    Charlotte shook her head.

    “He won’t,” Charlotte answered. “I know him well, and I’m willing to guarantee, he wants to invite Abbee. Dylan not so much, but Abbee, almost definitely. But he is too proud to do it. But if both of us force him to, and he risks wasting a significant amount of money if he doesn’t, then I think his pride would let him do it…”

    Justin had to admit, Charlotte’s analysis of Chris was accurate. His pride prevented him from inviting her and potentially mending that friendship, however if Charlotte and Justin refusing to come would potentially damage his pride further, he could very well oblige.

    “And what if his pride won’t let him listen to this?” Justin asked. Charlotte shook her head.

    “It’s got a grip on him definitely, but he’s still Chris,” Charlotte answered. “He wouldn’t let himself lose everything…”

    Justin sighed. He knew that Charlotte was only looking out for him, and trying to help him out of this slump he was in. However it was risky.

    “Are you sure this is the right thing to do?” Justin asked, still on the fence.

    “This is potentially the only chance we will get. He’s made it clear he is done with the Academy, so it’s not like we can try and help make things right next summer, and the longer this goes unchecked, the harder it will be to make things right…” Charlotte said. “It’s a risk, but what other option do we have that isn’t sit on our a**es and hope it all magically works out?”

    She was right. And acknowledging that, Justin opened his phone, opening the message from Chris and typing a reply.

    ”I’m keen, but I’ll only come if you invite Abbee and Dylan. Regardless of what s**t happened last summer, they’re your friends too, and would want to be there to celebrate with us. It wouldn’t be right to get together and not include them. I want us all to be as close as we were at the start of summer, and I know you want that too. So sorry, but unless I know you invited them, I won’t be there…”

    Justin pressed send, before showing Charlotte his phone. She glanced over the message, nodding her approval.

    “How did he take it when you told him?” Justin asked, as Charlotte smiled weakly.

    “Lots of swearing…” Charlotte replied. “The evening news friendly version being that it was none of my business and he could invite or exclude whoever he damn well pleased…”

    Justin sighed, realising Charlotte had intentionally not told him that. The pair’s meals arrived, and they ate, chatting casually about Charlotte’s next tournament, and how Justin’s course was going, before both their phones buzzed. They looked, and saw a message in the group chat that included all five of the interns, which hadn’t been used since before last summer.

    ”I’m thinking of hitting up a bar in Jubilife to celebrate my birthday since I’ll be passing through. Saturday November 7th. It would be good to see you all there if you can make it…”

    “I’ll let Abbee know what we’ve been doing…” Charlotte said, as Justin nodded, hoping he and Charlotte weren’t making a mistake…

    Chapter 3
    “Any idea why it looks like this?”

    Dylan held at an arm's length the failed attempt at a student ID card, not wanting the still wet and runny ink to drip off onto his clothes. This was Jon’s fifth attempt, and whilst Dylan had other projects he was working on at the Academy, Jon was losing patience with the printer that had arrived that day. Given the fact each blank card cost two dollars, and Jon was no closer to any success, he figured it was time to swallow his pride and accept he was not as attuned to using new equipment as Dylan was.

    Dylan looked at the test image that the printer had printed onto a blank card to make sure it was calibrated properly, before Jon attempted to print their template for their own cards. The test image was printed perfectly. Jon’s template however, was a smeary, wet mess.

    “I don’t think it’s the printer,” Dylan answered. “I think it’s the file you’re trying to print…”

    Dylan carefully took the card to the bin in Jon and Alyssa’s kitchen, and came back to look at the laptop that sat on the small dining table, plugged into the card printer. On the screen of the laptop was Photoshop, with the base design Jon had come up with for the cards.

    The cards were largely a security measure. The plan was to use them as key cards, and have lodges only be able to be entered with the cards that belonged to those living in them. Whilst it seemed excessive, Jon realised that last summer, someone had let a swarm of Bug Pokemon into one of the unused rooms, which destroyed most of the bedding, though he never was able to figure out who it was. One of the perks of this system however was that it allowed Jon to narrow down who was entering communal spaces. He had asked Dylan about the technology, and after he had looked into it explained that each card, when tapped against a reader, effectively gives a password, however readers could be designed to respond to any number of passwords. This way, Jon could effectively track which keys were used to access which room, and should keys go missing, revoke access from that key in particular.

    On the screen, Dylan could see the template, and after a few seconds, realised what the issue was. The indicator was the fact the magnification was set to 33%. He double checked the image resolution.

    “You’ve got the image file at 4k resolution,” Dylan said to Jon, who nodded.

    “Yeah, more pixels should mean a sharper image?” Jon answered, confused at how this was a problem.

    “On a screen, yeah,” Dylan explained. “But this printer is rated to 300 dots per inch, and the card is less than three and a half inches on its long side…”

    Jon still seemed confused, so Dylan got out his calculator on his phone and crunched the numbers.

    “You’re attempting to print over 1200 dots per inch, when the printer can only handle 300, so it’s doing what it has been,” Dylan explained, as he did another equation. “Really, this printer can handle an image roughly 1000 pixels by 630, which should be plenty for what we are using it for…”

    He opened the image tab, and pressed the resize image button, shrinking down the image, before double checking nothing was out of place as a side effect. When he was content, he saved the file, before printing it to the card printer.

    He and Jon sat in silence for the thirty odd seconds it took to print, and when it beeped to notify them it had finished, Dylan carefully pulled it out.

    “It still needs to dry a little more,” Dylan noted. “But that’s much better…”

    Jon looked at the freshly printed card, before looking to the bin at his five previous failed attempts, and shook his head in disbelief.

    “What would I do if I hadn’t hired you?” Jon asked with a laugh.

    “Wasted a lot of money on bad prints…” Dylan answered, as Jon grinned. Before Dylan could respond, he felt his phone buzz. He pulled it out, and was surprised to see a message from Chris to the group chat that had been dead since last summer.

    ”I’m thinking of hitting up a bar in Jubilife to celebrate my birthday since I’ll be passing through. Saturday November 7th. It would be good to see you all there if you can make it…”

    Dylan tried to hide the shock, however Jon picked up on it quickly.

    “Everything alright?” Jon asked, nodding towards Dylan’s phone. Dylan passed it to him, allowing him to read it.

    “Chris just invited the rest of us interns to celebrate his birthday with him…” Dylan said, Jon seeming equally surprised. Whilst there hadn’t been any open hostility between Chris and Dylan, or Chris towards Jon since the night of the prom at the end of summer, they were far from on good terms. Whilst Jon wanted Chris to move past the grudges he was holding, he knew that was not likely. Or so he thought.

    “Are you going to go?” Jon asked.

    “I’d have to take time off work,” Dylan answered, though Jon wasn’t buying it.

    “Consider that weekend now paid time off,” Jon answered quickly. “Do you think you will go?”

    Dylan was quiet for a moment, before shaking his head.

    “Honestly, I don’t see anything good coming from it,” Dylan answered. “I get that I hit him, and I really shouldn’t have. But he made it abundantly clear before that he had a problem with me, and it honestly seemed like he wanted a fight after the prom. I just don’t think me going and seeing him is worth the trouble at this point. Chances are he put it in the group chat to appease Charlotte…”

    Jon sighed, and whilst he understood why Dylan was hesitant, he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t disappointed.

    “I guess I’m just worried about him,” Jon said. “And I think this may be the only opportunity we get to fix things with him…”

    “We?” Dylan asked. Jon shrugged.

    “I’ve done all I can to be civil with him, and let him know he is welcome back here. Though that doesn’t mean I’m going to let him act out the way he did last summer if he does come back,” Jon said, adding the latter part so there was no confusion. “But I don’t think that’s enough. Meanwhile, he seems to have an axe to grind with you, and I figure if you two can find a way to work things out, I don’t see why he and I couldn’t as well…”

    Before Dylan could answer, his phone, which was still in Jon’s hand, buzzed. Jon looked, and saw it was Abbee calling him, before handing the phone over to Dylan.

    “I’ll be back in a minute,” Dylan said, before walking out the back door. He answered the call, hearing Abbee on the other end of the line.

    ”Hey, did you see the message?”

    “Yeah, I was just talking to Jon about it,” Dylan said, looking back to make sure none of the kitchen windows were open. “I think he wants me to go…”

    ”You don’t want to go?” Abbee asked, though her tone wasn’t at all shocked.

    “Not particularly,” Dylan answered. “$20 says he invited us to appease Charlotte…”

    ”Her and Justin told him they wouldn’t come if he didn’t invite us,” Abbee explained. ”She called me just before to tell me…”

    “Exactly,” Dylan answered. “He doesn’t want us there. Everyone would be happier if we didn’t go…”

    ”I’m not sure I agree with that…” Abbee said quietly. Dylan was surprised to hear this.

    “You honestly think he wants to see us?”

    ”I don’t think he particularly doesn’t want to see me, at least,” Abbee explained. ”Look, I know Chris well, and honestly, even if he wanted nothing more than to reach out, and make things right, he would struggle to do that, not because he thinks we are in the wrong, but because it’d hurt his pride to admit he acted poorly. I think that whilst Chris may not want us there, there is just as much chance that Charlotte and Justin saying what they said just forced him to do what deep down, he wants to do. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have budged…”

    Dylan remained silent, trying to understand her assessment of Chris, who had been nothing but antisocial towards him most of last summer. She continued to explain.

    ”Honestly, I think with Chris in the state he has been in recently, getting an apology out of him is impossible. But at the same time, I think enough time may have passed that if we can be around him, and it be civil, eventually we’ll all be able to move past all the stuff that was said and done last summer. Not necessarily all be friends again like we were, but it will be a start. And we aren’t without blame either,” Abbee continued. ”He might have acted out most of the summer, but I dumped him, and then got pretty close to you during the prom, in front of him and everyone else there. And you did give him a black eye. Even with me breaking up with him, he was about to apologise to you before he saw us at the prom. I see this as an olive branch, even if he had to be pushed into offering it, and given what we did to him, I think we owe it to him to take it…”

    Dylan sighed, before answering.

    “Look, I don’t have an axe to grind with Chris. You’re right, I did punch him when he didn’t deserve that, and we probably should have been a bit more mindful during prom…” Dylan explained. “I’m just worried because he has a history of making a scene, and escalating things. And I don’t want to see you disappointed if it happens again…”

    “Let’s do this once, for him,” Abbee said. ”Take this opportunity, and try to make amends. If he rejects it, we will leave him alone, and stop holding our breath that things will go back to normal…”

    “Okay. I’ll go…”

    Dylan was surprised when there was silence on the other end of the line, before Abbee cursing.

    ”S**t, I forgot…”

    “Forgot what?” Dylan asked, as Abbee muttered to herself on the other end of the line.

    ”It's a bar, and I’m not eighteen until January…” Abbee said, her voice plagued with disappointment. ”They won’t let me in…”

    “What if I can get you a fake ID?” Dylan asked, double checking the windows were still closed, and Jon couldn’t overhear.

    “Where?” Abbee asked. “Do you know someone who looks like me?”

    “No, it’ll be your details, just with your birthday being a year earlier…” Dylan explained. “We just got a card printer and are making Eon Academy IDs to be room keys. I’ll make one for myself, and one for you that makes you eighteen. Then we’ll use acetone on your League ID card to make it hard to read parts of it, your birthday included, and you can order a new card later. You try to use the League ID, and when they don’t allow it, show the Eon Academy one to verify it. I’ll show mine if they have a problem with it.”

    ”And if that doesn’t work?”

    “I gotta try and sweet talk the bouncer…”

    Dylan ended the call after a few more minutes, before entering the kitchen, where Jon remained. He was looking over the freshly printed card, now that the ink had dried and wasn’t transferring.

    “I think this is it,” Jon noted, nodding towards the cards.

    “Want to make a couple of actual ones?” Dylan asked. “Myself, Abbee, Justin and Charlotte will all be here next summer? We can make those ones now?”

    “We don’t have photos,” Jon said, though Dylan shook his head.

    “There will be recent photos on their Pokemon League Profiles,” Dylan explained. “And they’ll be more professional than anything we could try and take…”

    “Good point,” Jon said, not having considered that. A few minutes later, Dylan had opened a web browser, and found the public Pokemon League Profiles, quickly downloading the four images, and beginning to put them as well as dates of birth into the template. He made his own one, printing it, before replacing the photo and details in the template with Abbee’s.

    “Do you need me to find Abbee’s birthday?” Jon asked, though Dylan shook his head.

    “January 26th,” Dylan remarked, Jon figuring it made sense Dylan had it memorised.

    Dylan inputted Abbee’s birthday, however made sure the year was 2002 instead of 2003. He pressed print, and waited as the printer began to transfer the image onto the blank card in front of it.

    When the machine beeped to notify them it was finished, Dylan forced himself not to react when Jon reached out to take the card, inspecting the quality.

    “Careful, the ink still needs a moment to dry,” Dylan said, trying to get Jon to not look too closely at it, however Jon brushed his concerns aside.

    “It’ll dry faster out in the light anyway,” Jon noted as he inspected the card. It only took him a moment to notice that according to this card, Abbee was older than both Chris and Charlotte, however said nothing. He knew Dylan wouldn’t be making a fake ID for Abbee to buy alcohol, and figured it was for her to get into Chris’ birthday party. He grinned at Dylan, before handing the card to him.

    “Looks good,” Jon said. “But I’m not sold on the design. We might need to reprint before next summer…”

    Dylan nodded, before taking the card, and putting it with his own. He started working on the others, as Jon spoke.

    “So is Abbee wanting to go to Chris’ birthday?” Jon asked, as Dylan began working on Charlotte’s card.

    “Yeah,” Dylan sighed. “And I told her I’d go as well…”

    “Good,” Jon said. “Hopefully you guys can work everything out…”

    Chapter 4
    “So why this place?” Charlotte asked, as her and Chris entered Paradise Lane, the bar Chris had picked to be the venue for his eighteenth birthday. “It’s cool, but I live in Jubilife and had never heard of it…”

    She had to admit, she liked the venue. Whilst the lighting was soft, relying on vintage looking, long filament globes in industrial styled fittings to give a warm glow, the bar itself wasn’t dark like a nightclub, with their coloured, flashing lights.

    “I visited a few last weekend when I was here, trying to find one I liked, and this ticked the boxes,” Chris explained. “There is a nice beer garden that’s undercover, but heated, so you can get some fresh air, even if the weather isn’t great. And the music isn’t too loud out there that you can’t hear yourself think. That and it wasn’t too crowded last Saturday night…”

    Charlotte nodded, appreciating Chris’ judgement. She had been worried they’d be in some nightclub, where her shoes stuck to the floor from all the spilt drinks, and the bathrooms reeked of vomit. This was much nicer…

    “Any word from the others?” Charlotte asked.

    “Justin had some meeting for a group project this afternoon that went overtime, but he’ll be here soon,” Chris explained. “Abbee and Dylan only arrived in Jubilife this afternoon, and needed to go to the hotel they were staying at first, so will be here a little later…”

    Charlotte was surprised at how okay Chris seemed talking about Abbee and Dylan in the same sentence as a hotel. Granted they both knew the pair would likely split a suite with two bedrooms, given Chris’ reaction to seeing them dancing at the prom, she would have bet for sure that Chris would have taken this the wrong way.

    “Since it’s your birthday, I’ll buy you a drink,” Charlotte said. “Then we can find somewhere to sit down, and save some space until the others get here.”

    Charlotte bought Chris a beer, and a cider for herself, before the pair made their way into the beer garden, finding a booth in the corner. The beer garden was spacious, paved with red bricks, and furnished with lots of natural wood. Pine beams surrounded the edge of it, holding up the roof that protected it from the elements, whilst trellis connected the beams, acting as a support for the lush, leafy plants that covered them. Like inside, the lighting was warm, from the vintage globes, but not overly bright.

    “Hey guys,” called out a familiar voice, and they looked up to see Justin approaching, a drink in hand, and making his way through the different groups of people, some of whom seemed to recognise him, before he sat down in the booth with the pair.

    “Good to see you,” Chris said with a grin, shaking Justin’s hand in greeting. “What’re you drinking?”

    “Rum and cola,” Justin said with a grin. “I can’t stand the taste of beer…”

    “Yeah, I’ll be real, I’m not a huge fan,” Chris said, struggling not to laugh. He was beginning to wonder whether everyone who said they liked the taste, Latios included, were just in on a giant hoax to disappoint people when they were old enough to drink it. “I think I’ll be trying something different next…”

    Not even twenty metres away, on the other side of the beer garden boundary, Dylan and Abbee walked down the laneway towards Paradise Lane, Abbee nervous at the prospect of using a fake ID to illegally enter a bar.

    “Calm down,” Dylan said quietly. “If you look like you know you’ve done something wrong, they’ll catch you…”

    “Run me through the plan one more time?” Abbee asked nervously.

    “I’ll go first and use my driver’s licence to get in,” Dylan explained. “Then you will use your League ID, which has half your birthday rubbed away, and try and get in. When did you use the acetone?”

    “A week ago, like you said…” Abbee replied. Dylan had realised pretty quickly after devising the plan that if they used the acetone the afternoon of Chris’ party, the smell would give away that the card had been tampered with. A week gave it plenty of time to air out, and hopefully not give them away.

    “Good,” Dylan answered, before continuing. “Any bouncer doing their job won’t accept it, so offer your Eon Academy ID. If that doesn’t work, leave the rest to me…”

    Abbee nodded, taking a breath, and trying to remain calm as they rounded the corner, and the bouncers came into sight. The pair approached the two bouncers, both large men, though Dylan matched their height and bulk, who stepped to obstruct the door.

    “You two got ID?” the first one asked.

    “Yeah, give me a second,” Dylan said, getting his wallet out, and handing the bouncer his driver’s licence. He looked between the photo on it, and the young man standing in front of him, before handing it over to him, and nodding. Dylan didn’t move, waiting for Abbee to be checked.

    Abbee handed over her League ID, and the bouncer inspected it. For a moment he held it closer to the light above him, before realising that lighting wasn’t the reason he couldn’t make out the date of birth. It had been rubbed away, presumably by the purse that Abbee kept it in.

    “I can’t read your date of birth. It’s been worn away,” the bouncer said, handing it to her. “Do you have anything else? A passport, or a driver’s licence?”

    “I left my passport at the hotel, and I don’t drive. It gives me anxiety…” Abbee said, sounding a little embarrassed, though Dylan knew her well enough to know she was performing. “My work ID has my date of birth? Will that work?”

    Without waiting for an answer, she removed the card Dylan had given her that afternoon, which put her age as eighteen, and handed it to the bouncer. He quickly looked it over, then shook his head.

    “Work ID alone won’t cut it,” the man said. “You could have printed this yourself…”

    “She didn’t,” Dylan interjected, irritation clear in his voice. “I have mine here, and it all matches up…”

    He held out his licence, as well as his own Eon Academy ID, showing the information was accurate. The bouncer continued to shake his head.

    “My point remains, if this was provided by your employer, you could have printed it yourself, and put whatever you want on it…”

    Dylan’s eyebrow raised at the remark, and his gaze remained on the bouncer.

    “You see where this ID is from?” Dylan asked, however didn’t wait for an answer. “The Eon Academy…”

    “Yes but-”

    “The same Eon Academy that saved an entire island by being wiped out from both a meteorite, and a rampaging Legendary Pokemon. The same Eon Academy that brought to light corruption in the Hoenn Department of Defence,” Dylan said, his voice raised a little, however his tone spoke more. Not aggressive, but also far from complacent. “And you’d accuse employees of the Eon Academy, the same ones who saved countless lives twice, of using their position to print fake IDs?”

    “I’m not accusing-” the bouncer tried to interject, though Dylan turned to Abbee.

    “Abbee, how many followers does this venue have?” Dylan asked, as Abbee quickly unlocked her phone to begin searching, and Dylan turned to the bouncer. “Abbee and I are two of the five trainers who saved the island, and were here in Jubilife embarrassing your College of the North Wind, and the other three are inside, wondering why the hell we aren’t there yet…”

    “Twenty thousand,” Abbee said to Dylan, who looked at the bouncer and scoffed.

    “The five of us have a hundred and fifty thousand followers between us,” Dylan continued. “And I’d imagine if we went public about being accused of fraud by this venue, it wouldn’t be a good look…”

    “Is that a threat?” the bouncer asked, his tone now becoming less pleasant. Dylan laughed to himself.

    “Me and countless others using our right to leave a review?” Dylan asked. “If you’re in the right, that should give you nothing to feel threatened by…”

    The bouncer held Dylan’s gaze, as Abbee held her breath, not knowing this was Dylan’s idea of sweet talking that he had mentioned. Finally, the silence was broken by the other bouncer.

    “Let it go,” the other bouncer said to the first. “How many fake IDs have you come across from a person's own workplace? Besides, Jon Drake seems like the sort to kick a** if they were using his school to make them…”

    “If she’s underage-”

    “If she’s underage and has an ID with her name, picture and address on it, but with a false age, she and the supplier of the ID are culpable. Not you or the venue. Your job is to make sure the ID is hers, and says she is over eighteen,” Dylan argued. “The ID is hers, and says she is over eighteen…”

    “It’s not worth the trouble,” the second bouncer said to the first. “Let her in…”

    The first bouncer glared at Dylan, before relenting.

    “Give me one reason to think you’re trouble, and you’re out of here,” the bouncer said to Dylan.

    “Is that a threat?” Dylan asked mockingly, as the bouncer’s eyes narrowed.

    “Watch it,” the second bouncer said to Dylan, not on his side, however not wanting the trouble that was brewing. “I said you two can go in. Act like a f**kwit and you’re gone.”

    Dylan scoffed, before going in, Abbee following close behind them. When they were finally out of earshot, Abbee breathed a sigh of relief.

    “I can’t believe that worked,” Abbee said. “Don’t you think you might have pushed your luck by antagonising them?”

    “Nope,” Dylan answered simply. “People don’t become bouncers because the pay is good, or it's what they aspire to. They become bouncers to fulfil a messed up need they have to be in control, and let everyone else know they are. Most of them are bullies, and rely on being bigger, and the reputation of bouncers, to have that itch met. But people like that are easy enough to put in their place if you are willing to push back harder…”

    Inside, Chris, Charlotte and Justin were chatting, with Chris returning from the bar, this time with a rum and cola to match Justin’s, though couldn’t help overhearing the gossip from the booth next to them.

    “There’s a couple outside arguing with the bouncers,” one girl said. “Something about her using her work ID, and them not trusting it…”

    Charlotte couldn’t help but smirk hearing it, most times attending places like this since she turned eighteen herself, having seen someone overly drunk being thrown out of the bar by one of the somewhat large gentlemen who worked as security.

    A few moments later however, Charlotte realised who was being talked about when Dylan and Abbee entered, and she remembered the fact that all three of them had overlooked. Abbee was underage. She also wished that the group they overheard talking hadn’t referred to her and Dylan as a couple, even if it wasn’t necessarily true, with Chris in earshot. Her eyes widened, as she stood to greet them, Justin following her, and Chris, after a moment's hesitation, standing as well.

    “What did you two do?” Charlotte asked quietly Abbee as she hugged her. Abbee gestured at her to not say any more.

    “I’ll tell you later,” Abbee said, before making her way to Justin to hug him.

    Dylan, while Abbee was hugging Charlotte, and Justin was approaching her, looked towards Chris, who looked at him with a somewhat cold expression. He sighed internally, before swallowing his pride. He reached out and offered his hand to Chris.

    “Happy Birthday,” Dylan said casually, before dropping his tone a little. “And sorry about what happened last summer. Punching you, I mean. I had just got some bad news, and wasn’t in a good headspace…”

    Chris nodded, taking Dylan’s hand, though not offering more than a simple ’thanks’ in return.

    Dylan turned to greet Charlotte with a hug, before shaking Justin’s hand, genuinely happy to see the pair of them again, while Abbee approached Chris.

    “Happy Birthday,” Abbee said, trying to sound friendly. “I really appreciate you inviting us…”

    Chris nodded, though didn’t show much emotion in that.

    “I’m glad you could make it…” Chris said, and Abbee was pleasantly surprised when she found herself believing it.

    Once all greetings were out of the way, the group sat around the table in the centre of their circular booth, Chris sitting on the end, with Justin next to him. Between Justin and Abbee sat Charlotte, with Dylan sitting on the other end, opposite Chris.

    “How did things go in Canalave?” Charlotte asked Dylan. “Any answers?”

    “Well, I don’t have NF2,” Dylan answered with a grin. “I’m still a carrier, and if by some s**ty luck, I have kids with someone who is also a carrier, our kids have a one in four chance of getting it. But honestly, this is the best news I could have hoped for…”

    “Thank God,” Justin exclaimed, having been worried for Dylan, seeing how his friend, who was usually stable and reliable, had started to come undone with the worry.

    Before anything else could be said, or Dylan tell the rest of the story from Canalave, their table was approached by a barmaid, who was taking orders.

    “Can I get you guys any drinks?”

    Her tone was professional, however Justin, who was used to being recognized in the street, could see in her eyes, and how she looked between them, that she knew exactly who she was serving.

    “Pale ale for me please,” Dylan said, handing his bank card to her, before turning to Abbee. “You want anything?”

    “Lemon, Lime and Bitters please,” Abbee said to the waitress, before telling Dylan she’d get his next one.

    “I’m good,” Justin remarked, not being much of a drinker himself, with Charlotte chorusing her agreement.

    “Another rum and cola,” Chris said casually.

    The waitress quickly took notes, before leaving, returning a few minutes later with their drinks. Once she was out of earshot, Charlotte turned to Abbee, asking the question she asked earlier.

    “What happened out there?” Charlotte asked. “And how did you get in?”

    Abbee grinned, before producing her Eon Academy ID, and sliding it on the table towards Charlotte, as Dylan glanced over to make sure they weren’t being watched.

    Charlotte read it, realising that this ID listed her age as being a year older, older than both her and Chris.

    “Jon gave you this?” Charlotte asked, and Dylan snorted.

    “No, I did,” Dylan explained. “These are key cards we are going to use to get into buildings at the Academy next summer. When Chris sent through the invitation, Jon and I just had the printer for it arrive, and were trying to make it work. So I did a few test runs of the printer…”

    “Jon didn’t notice?” Justin asked, being a legal student, and wanting to join the police, not feeling overly comfortable about it. Dylan shook his head.

    “He looked at it closely to see if the printer was working, but didn’t pick up on it,” Dylan answered. “He was going to look up Abbee’s birthday before I printed it, but I told him when it was, and he took me at my word…”

    “Then, Dylan went full Karen on the bouncer when they weren’t happy with me using a work ID, threatening to have the five of us complain about this place online, and organise a review bomb…” Abbee said with a laugh, before sipping her drink. Charlotte scoffed in disbelief.

    “I mean, it wouldn’t have come to this if we had realised you wouldn’t be allowed in here…” Charlotte said. “Sorry about that by the way…”

    “No harm done,” Abbee said, though noticing Chris had remained quiet, and they had taken the attention away from him, seeing as this was his birthday celebration. She turned towards him. “So what have you been up to?”

    “What I planned,” Chris said casually, taking another sip of his own drink, which was already getting low. “I got home after the challenge, and got ready to leave. Bought the rest of the gear I needed, and got my motorbike licence, as well as the motorbike itself. After that, I competed in a few tournaments in Johto until the end of September, then took a boat to Sinnoh, and competed a few times here…”

    “How did you go?” Abbee asked, and was surprised when Chris grinned.

    “Undefeated,” Chris answered, leaving the others, Dylan included, impressed. “Granted, I was still forced to battle in the Junior Circuit, and I’ll be battling against Charlotte in the next tournament now that I’m eighteen, and I can’t guarantee I will stay undefeated…”

    Charlotte laughed at the comment.

    “Because I’m terrifying?” Charlotte asked.

    There was a chorus of answers to that, Chris answering no, whilst Justin, Dylan and Abbee all answering yes. Charlotte grinned.

    “You’ll agree with them soon enough,” Charlotte said to Chris, nodding towards the others, as they laughed.

    The group continued to talk, albeit there still being little to no direct conversation between Dylan and Chris, with the other three driving the bulk of the conversation. Whilst Charlotte was talking about her travel plans, and the competitions she was signed up for, the barmaid from earlier stopped by, inquiring about more drinks, which Charlotte, Justin and Chris all took her up on, leading her to walk away, and return later with more drinks.

    Whilst Chris was being somewhat quiet during the chatter, Dylan was the first to notice his struggle to pay attention, and slight slur in his speech, having seen it plenty growing up with Bill. However, he knew that things would only become tense if he mentioned it, deciding to leave it, figuring Chris was behaving himself, and they actually seemed to be on good terms.

    Chris had been trying hard by this point to keep the peace, and maybe undo some of the damage of the last summer, and had actually been enjoying having Abbee around. Whilst he had considered apologising early on, especially when Dylan had apologised to him, the voice in his head had made it impossible for him.

    ”If you roll over now and apologise, he’ll just go back to looking down on you…”

    As the night went on, he suppressed the urges he felt to avenge his damaged pride. The urge to make a snide remark, and humiliate Abbee and Dylan, the way they had humiliated him. He knew this was wrong, and did what he could to fight it, trying to distract himself with the conversation, and when they were particularly strong, simply trying to remain quiet. However the mistake he made was also distracting himself with another drink…

    It was nearly 10:30, when Chris returned to the booth from the bar, a little uneasy on his feet, carrying what Charlotte, who alongside all others present at this point, was aware of Chris’ intoxication, counted to be his eighth drink since they arrived. However, as intoxicated as he was, he was behaving himself, and being pleasant, which they weren’t going to complain about, given how they half expected that night to play out.

    Abbee nudged Dylan, who stood, allowing her to pass him and get out of the booth. As Dylan remained standing, Abbee looked to Charlotte, before gesturing to inside, where the lights had dimmed, and the music was now playing louder, where a dance floor was growing in population.

    “Let’s go dance!” Abbee said to Charlotte, seeing how much those on the dance floor were enjoying themselves. Charlotte scoffed.

    “When have you ever seen me dance?”

    “Come on,” Abbee pleaded, though still grinning. “Do I need to buy you a drink first?”

    Chris, feeling tired, heard Abbee ask Charlotte to come to the dance floor with her, and couldn’t help but remember the night of the prom. Walking in to apologise to Dylan, to find he and Abbee, holding each other close and slow dancing. As he did, he felt the jealous anger, and humiliating embarrassment that he felt on that night, rising up again. Whilst he had been fighting every urge that plagued him throughout the evening, the emotions he felt and the alcohol's effects made fighting it too difficult for him, and finally, he spoke.

    “Dylan not good enough for you this time?”

    Chapter 5
    “Dylan not good enough for you this time?”

    There was silence in the group as Chris spoke those words, with varying reactions. Abbee looked at her feet, embarrassed by the comment, while Dylan glared at Chris, more so for taking Abbee’s willingness to make amends with him for granted. Charlotte sighed in exasperation, as Justin tried to defuse the situation.

    “Someone’s had a little bit too much to drink,” Justin said, forcing a laugh. He turned to Abbee. “If you want to dance, I’ll come with you.”

    “No it’s fine,” Abbee said, appreciating Justin trying to defuse the situation. “I saw what Candice put you through at prom, and wouldn’t want to bring up bad memories.”

    Justin laughed, probably more than was necessary, however wanted to take the focus off Chris and Dylan. Charlotte, getting the memo, spoke next.

    “Abbee, I’m sorry, I haven’t even asked about your job yet,” Charlotte said. She was lying. Whilst she hadn’t spoken to Abbee about her job that evening she had been in touch, and knew most of the details. Really, all of them but Chris did. “How’s Nimbasa City?”

    “It’s great,” Abbee said. “Honestly, it seems like it never sleeps. And the Gym is great to work at.”

    “How is it being a Gym Trainer?” Justin asked. Abbee grinned.

    “Honestly, it’s harder than people give it credit for. No Gym Trainer battles all out. They need to be able to provide the right amount of challenge for challengers to make sure that the Gym Leader’s time isn’t being wasted by people who are nowhere near ready,” Abbee explained. “I’ve got Ampharos and Electabuzz that I battle with there. Electabuzz still needs work, but Ampharos more than makes up for it. But Victini is getting restless…”

    “What’s Elesa like to work for?” Charlotte asked, curious about the Gym Leader. Most of her public image were photoshoots, albeit some that other Gym Leader’s wouldn’t dream of doing. She had a very active presence on social media, however nobody really knew what celebrities were like based purely on their social media.

    “She runs a tight ship. Hell, I started a few weeks earlier because one of her former gym trainers was caught with drugs, and she didn’t want the bad PR for her gym, so she fired him,” Abbee explained. “She made it abundantly clear from the beginning that it doesn’t matter if you’re the best battler in the world. If you can’t do basic things like show up on time, respond to calls in a timely manner, or stay focused during work hours, then your battling ability in her eyes is worthless. She has reasonable standards, and if you meet them, she is lovely to work for. If you don’t though, she will make it abundantly clear that you need to get your act together.”

    “Sounds like Jon,” Justin answered. “But with calendar shoots…”

    Chris remained quiet, too intoxicated to notice the glares he was receiving from Dylan. His attention was piqued however when the barmaid walked past. He called out.

    “Excuse me,” he said, his voice slurred. “Can I get another rum and cola?”

    “Don’t you think you’ve had enough?” Justin asked, however Chris wasn’t having a bar of it.

    “It’s my eighteenth birthday. If I can’t have a little too much now, when can I?” Chris asked, before looking back to the barmaid. “Another rum and cola…”

    “Make it a water,” Justin said to the barmaid, knowing the last thing Chris needed was more alcohol. However, he also knew places like this only cut people off when they were barely able to walk, vomiting, or generally making a nuisance of themself, otherwise seeing Chris as having potential for more sales.

    “F**k off,” Chris said loudly to Justin, who was taken aback. “I’m getting a rum and cola!”

    His voice was raised, gathering the attention of those immediately around them. Justin, knowing how likely it was they’d be recognised as Eon Academy staff, especially in Jubilife after their win over the College of the North Wind, didn’t object further.

    The barmaid left in a hurry, before returning with Chris’ drink, which he quickly began to consume, much to the concern of those around him.

    “How’re Jon and Alyssa?” Charlotte asked Dylan, wanting to change the subject, and remembering Jon being referenced before Chris’ minor outburst.

    “Doing well. Right now, they’re frantically researching kindergartens in Mossdeep, since Amelia will be in three-year-old kinder next summer, and they know if they leave it any later, they’ll be trying to figure out stuff for next summer’s program at the same time,” Dylan explained. “He’s currently got eighty people already registered and paid for next summer, and thinks that he might have to cap registrations at a hundred a fifty.”

    Justin whistled his admiration.

    “It’s gonna be busy next summer. Honestly, he might need to get some of last summer's assistants on as interns themselves…” Justin noted. The summer before, whilst the five of them had been interns, their groups were at twenty people each, compared to the seven they had the summer before. As such, Jon had offered two older, returning students from each group a discounted fee for the summer, if they assisted their team leader in their duties, and helped with training during the more practical sessions.

    “If they do come on as interns, I hope they’re ready for Jon to play therapist…” Chris muttered, before taking another gulp of his drink, which was already getting low.

    “It’d definitely help having a few more interns there,” Charlotte said, ignoring Chris’ remark. She knew he was after a reaction, and didn’t dignify him with one. “Honestly, it became tricky last summer trying to keep track of my entire group, even with Wes and Christy helping me out…”

    “Yeah, same,” Abbee agreed. “And at this rate, if we have a hundred and fifty students between four groups, we’d be at just under forty students each. That’s practically how many students were there during 2019…”

    “He’ll figure something out,” Justin said. “I’m sure it’ll be great…”

    Chris scoffed in disbelief, which Abbee, Charlotte and Justin ignored, opting to keep talking amongst themselves if Chris was going to be unpleasant. Dylan however, wasn’t of the same mind. Jon had taken him in when he thought he may potentially be homeless, and had helped him tell the police about Bill, before sending a message by breaking Bill’s nose to leave him alone. He had given Dylan a home and a family the last two and a half years, and helped him to achieve things he personally didn’t see himself ever doing. Making amends and keeping peace in this group were important to him, but not as important as being loyal to Jon.

    “You got something you want to say?” Dylan said to Chris, who turned to face him, seeming to struggle to not sway with the drunkenness. “Sounds like it…”

    “You his bodyguard or something?” Chris asked Dylan, as the others realised there was no stopping this now. “What’s it to you?”

    “If you don’t have the balls to say what’s actually on your mind outside of snide little remarks, then just shut the f**k up,” Dylan said, his tone level, and gaze bearing down on Chris. “You wouldn’t be half the trainer you are now if not for him, so show some f**king gratitude…”

    “I’m twice the trainer you are, and you live with him, so I doubt that’s true,” Chris said, though was the only one who genuinely believed the first half of that statement. “Jon used dirty tactics to win his semi final match, then took the Grand Final match from someone who had relied on even dirtier tactics for practically every match before that, only fluking her way through the semi finals. He got the first place prize through a mixture of dumb luck and cheating, and extorted the fourth place prize out of the league in addition, and used it to buy a school. His title as High Seas Champion couldn’t be more hollow…”

    “Chris, that’s enough,” Charlotte said angrily, shocked at the hostility of his words. Dylan, furious at Chris hearing this kept his gaze level, not wanting to dignify him with the explosive reaction he wanted.

    “Hollow title or not, he still dragged your dumb a** out of a cave when you nearly got yourself killed…” Dylan said, as Chris’ eyes widened and he began to see red. “I know Jon, and I know he’ll never give up on you, with this little phase he thinks you’re going through. But honestly, I think he should…”

    “Motherf**ker…” Chris said angrily, as he stood to his feet quickly, knocking over one of the empty glasses on the table in front of him. Dylan stood as well, albeit much more stable on his feet, while Justin stood to his feet, grabbing Chris’ shoulder, who tried to shake him off.

    Chris shook off Justin’s grip, which was awkwardly placed already given his position in the booth, before making his way towards Dylan, everyone present knowing why.

    “Chris, don’t,” Abbee called out, and for a moment, she thought he had listened. He seemed to slow, and stop. However, his legs seemed to give underneath him, and he half collapsed, grabbing onto the table to hold himself steady, as a wave of fatigue hit him out of nowhere. Justin, thinking it was the amount Chris had to drink, came out of the booth, putting Chris’ arm around his shoulder, and lifting him to his feet.

    “Goddamn, he had a bit to drink, but not that much…” Charlotte said, as Abbee shot Dylan a look.

    Dylan saw the look Abbee gave him, and sighed. Whilst Chris was now more pleasant than he had been since his first snide remark, he knew she was right.

    “Darkrai, stop…”

    Chapter 6
    Chris had stood to put Dylan in his place when all of a sudden, he felt his energy leave him, and seemed to struggle to focus, let alone stay awake. His legs had given way underneath him, and he held onto the table to remain upright, before Justin stood to help him to his feet.

    Charlotte had said something, that he struggled to remember already about how much he had to drink, and he wondered if he were sensitive to alcohol, this being his first time having any in a considerable amount. However Dylan spoke next, seemingly to someone else there that none of them were aware of.

    “Darkrai, stop…”

    Chris looked up at Dylan, who was still staring at him, however as Dylan said the words, Chris felt his focus begin to sharpen back to the alcohol dulled point it was at when he originally stood, and his energy came back to him.

    “A**hole,” Chris muttered, before moving towards Dylan again and feeling his energy leave him again.

    “Dylan, what’re you doing?” Charlotte asked, shocked at the effect Chris seemed to be under.

    “Sit down Chris, and it will stop,” Dylan said to Chris, his tone indicating he was past the point of reasoning. Chris scowled at Dylan, when he felt his strength return to him, before sitting down, Justin letting him go into the booth first, so he could sit on the end himself, and be a barrier if Chris were to try and get physical again.

    When all were seated, in awkward silence, Chris staring daggers into Dylan, Charlotte was the first to speak.

    “What is Darkrai?”

    Dylan looked around the booth and saw there was a space between Abbee and Charlotte. He looked to Abbee.

    “You mind making some space,” he said casually to Abbee, as he moved more towards the edge of his seat, and Abbee obliged, moving closer to him making enough space for someone else in the seat between her and Charlotte. “It might be better if none of the other patrons notice, so it’ll be between you and Abbee…”

    Charlotte had no clue what Dylan was talking about, before noticing in her peripheral vision something unusual. A shadow on the seat next to her that didn’t seem like it should be there, given the lighting of the room. Her pace went pale as from the unusual shadow, rose what she could only describe as a living nightmare. It seemed to be made out of black tattered fabric, with a large red growth, reminiscent of a large, lower jaw. It had a single blue eye, though she wasn’t sure if it had a matching one on the other side that was covered by the dense wisps of fog that seemed to appear as hair on the Pokemon’s head.

    After a few seconds when Chris, Charlotte and Justin all had a moment to take it in, Dylan gave a command, as Darkrai melted back into a shadow, and merged with his own. There was stunned silence, before Chris of all people broke it.

    “What the f**k was that?!” he asked, shocked at how terrified he was of the Pokemon.

    “Darkrai. A Legendary Pokemon,” Dylan explained. “I captured it when I was in Canalave…”

    “You have a Legendary Pokemon?” Charlotte asked, shocked at the revelation. “How come you didn’t tell us?”

    Dylan grinned.

    “You never asked…”

    Whilst Justin felt the same, he had done the same thing with Regieleki, and knew it would be a bit rich for him to protest.

    “When I was in Canalave, I was talking to my dad, and he was telling me about one of his patients. A fifteen year old boy who nearly a month ago went to sleep, and just wouldn’t wake up. He was trapped in an endless nightmare, and they had no idea how to wake him up,” Dylan explained. “I asked if it could be a Pokemon causing it, and he said he had asked the League about it, but they said it was impossible. If a Pokemon was using Hypnosis or Nightmare on him, the Pokemon, even if it were Legendary, would have to sleep, and stop using it…”

    Justin nodded, understanding the reasoning, as Dylan continued.

    “But I remembered when you had your nightmares Charlotte, and I was too quick to write off it being caused by a Pokemon, because it seemed like a Pokemon causing it would be near impossible, so I looked into it…” Dylan explained. “I went to the Canalave Library, and spent a day researching Legendary Pokemon, and found a section on Cresselia…”

    “Cresselia as in the Pokemon Brad Jenkins has?” Charlotte asked. Dylan nodded.

    “One and the same. It was all pretty basic stuff, and it said that Cresselia’s feathers could prevent nightmares, but there was something else,” Dylan explained. “It said the presence of Cresselia keeps the terror of the new moon at bay…

    Justin and Charlotte’s eyes widened at the ominous message, as Dylan continued to tell the story.

    “I knew I had heard of the terror before but it wasn’t in any of the books. I asked one of the librarians, who mentioned having read a lot of books from the Pokemon Mythology section about it, and she had heard of it too, but couldn’t remember where. Then I remembered where I heard it,” Dylan continued. “That morning, I had been approached by a homeless man who seemed mentally ill, and he’d said ’He took the one that stops the terror. He took her away, and now it comes for us…’. Then he seemed to recognize me and accused me of beating her...”

    “Was he talking about Cresselia?” Charlotte asked, and Dylan nodded. “He must have seen the video of you battling Brad…”

    “I thought he was just rambling when it happened. But then the librarian found the book where she’d read about the terror of the new moon. A really old children’s book, talking about a spectre that puts naughty children into a never-ending, nightmare filled sleep…”

    “Sounds like a great kids book…” Justin muttered, causing Dylan to grin.

    “So I called Brad, and asked him some questions. He told me that Cresselia would lose control of her powers six hours either side of the peak of the full moon, and that he caught Cresselia on an island north of Canalave, the same time this kid went to sleep, which happened to be five hours after the peak of the new moon…” Dylan said. “And he told me there was another island nearby…”

    Justin’s eyes widened as he put the pieces together.

    “So Darkrai here would lose control of its power around the new moon, but Cresselia being nearby would protect Canalave against that…” Justin said, largely for the sake of processing it himself. “But when Brad captured Cresselia, it wasn’t there anymore, and Darkrai lost control during the new moon, and put this kid to sleep?”

    Dylan nodded gravely.

    “And when I found out, it was twelve hours until the new moon,” Dylan said, as Charlotte swore to herself. Chris even seemed enthralled by the story, though struggled to hide it in his drunkenness. “And last time Darkrai put one person to sleep, and I think the only reason it didn’t put more to sleep as well was because it had less than an hour to do it before it regained control of its abilities…”

    “So what did you do?” Charlotte asked, though having a solid idea of what happened next.

    “I got my dad to take me on his boat to the island Brad caught Cresselia on. When we were there, we found a few of Cresselia’s feathers. Full Moon Island. Then we went to New Moon Island, which was identical to Full Moon, but mirrored…”

    “No way…” Justin said in disbelief. “How is that even possible?”

    Dylan shrugged.

    “I got to the island half an hour before Dakrai would have lost control, and captured it. Just. For a second I thought I wasn’t going to get off the island…”

    “So why is Darkrai in your shadow?” Charlotte asked, and Chris grunted in irritated agreement.

    “As far as I know, I am the first human Darkrai has seen. When I got back to Mossdeep, Steven took some photos of it, and sent it off as well as a report of what happened in Canalave to some experts in Pokemon Mythology and after a week or so they realised what Darkrai was,” Dylan explained. “It’s really quite placid by nature, but isn’t used to being around people. So during my day to day errands, I’ve had Darkrai in my shadow, so it can get used to people, without them seeing it and children bursting into tears at the sight of it…”

    “Or so you can talk s**t and not take responsibility for it…” Chris muttered, earning a nudge from Justin.

    “In the two months Darkrai has been tailing me, you’re the first person it’s done that to,” Dylan said. “Take a hint…”

    Chris’ anger flared, however knowing how quickly Darkrai had incapacitated him, and seeing how Charlotte and Justin were siding with Dylan, he remained silent.

    “I’m getting another drink…” Chris muttered, and Justin, not bothering to try and stop him, stood, letting Chris past, so he could make his way to the bar…

    Chapter 7
    It took three more drinks for Chris to be cut off by the bar, and when he tried to argue, he got the attention of the bouncers. He had made it back to the table, swearing to himself, albeit loudly, and had only just sat down when the two bouncers arrived, telling them to leave. Chris attempted to argue with the bouncer who had let Dylan and Abbee in earlier, however was promptly grabbed and lifted to his feet, Justin and Charlotte quickly stepping to their feet to follow behind them.

    Whilst Dylan hadn’t dawdled, his display with Abbee’s ID had given the other bouncer little patience for him, and as he stood, he was promptly pushed somewhat towards the exit. He turned to glare at the bouncer, who had a look of smug satisfaction.

    “You’re done,” the bouncer said. “Out…”

    “I’m moving a**hole…” Dylan retorted to the bouncer, as he started to walk. He felt the right shoulder of his shirt grabbed by a rough hand, and pulled. In response, Dylan shoved his shoulder into the bouncer, shaking his grip off.

    The bouncer, now given the excuse he was waiting for, went to grab Dylan with both hands, however felt his energy drain, and a sudden shocking wave of lethargy. He stumbled for a second, before collapsing to the ground, Dylan stepping over him.

    “Congratulations buddy,” Dylan said as he stepped over the large man, laying on the ground who was struggling to stay awake. “You threw us out…”

    Letting go of Chris, the other bouncer saw what had happened to his colleague, and turned to face Dylan. However, when he was two metres from Dylan, he saw Dylan’s shadow shift, and between them, something emerged that looked like a living nightmare. He stopped dead in his tracks, being stared down by Darkrai’s single visible pale blue eye.

    “We’re leaving,” Dylan said, his gaze fixed on the bouncer. He nudged the bouncer on the floor gently with his boot. “He’ll feel better once we’re gone…”

    The remaining bouncer scowled at Dylan, as he and Abbee left, Darkrai dissolving into Dylan’s shadow, following Charlotte, Justin and Chris who were both now by the entrance. Abbee spoke quietly as they walked out of the bar.

    “Was that a good idea?” Abbee asked, though already knew the answer. “We’re pretty recognizable…”

    “I read the reviews of this place on my phone while we were in there. Most of the reviews, even the good ones, complain about the bouncers being a**holes,” Dylan answered. “I’d be willing to bet it’d take more than putting one heavy handed bouncer to sleep while we were leaving peacefully to look bad for the Academy…”

    “I hope so…”

    They walked, Chris stumbling, out of the laneway, finding themselves on a main street, with a park nearby. As they walked in the cold night air, Chris began to increase his pace, on a course for the park.

    “What’s he doing?” Charlotte asked, as Justin began to increase his own pace to keep up with him.

    Chris reached the nearest tree, before vomiting violently at the base of it, holding himself up against it, as he continued to retch. Abbee winced as she heard the sound of Chris’ retching, and the splash of the contents of his stomach, mostly liquid at this point, splashing on the ground.

    “Some wild Pokemon’s going to get drunk off that themselves…” Dylan noted, as Charlotte groaned at the image Dylan brought to mind. Abbee sighed.

    “I honestly thought we might be able to work things out…” Abbee said sadly, as she looked over towards Chris, who was now on hands and knees, still retching, but now with an empty stomach, whilst Justin awkwardly tried to keep him company. Charlotte grimaced, thinking about how much Dylan and Abbee put themselves out to be here.

    “I’m sorry for dragging you two out here. For making him invite you guys…” Charlotte said. “Honestly, I thought he might have grown up a little and could work past his issues. But I guess not…”

    “Don’t apologise. I’m glad you guys are looking out for him,” Abbee said. “Honestly, I pity him more than I’m angry with him right now. Really, I want to see him being his old self again…”

    “So do I,” Dylan said, however his expression was grim. “But honestly, at this point, I think he needs to hit rock bottom before he can change, and I think he might have further to fall…”

    “I hope that isn’t the case,” Charlotte answered. “But I can’t say I think you’re wrong…”

    Abbee nodded, before looking down the street intersecting main street, where they stood on the corner.

    “Our hotel is this way, and our flights are tomorrow morning,” Abbee said to Charlotte, before looking at Chris. “Will you guys be okay getting Chris to his hotel without us?”

    Charlotte scoffed at the question.

    “I don’t have the first idea where his hotel even is, and there’s no way a cab will take him there. And I don’t think he’s in the right mind to tell us where,” Charlotte answered. “I talked to Justin about it before when we were leaving the bar, and he said Chris can crash at his place, though he will kick his **s if he makes a mess…”

    “Do you want some help getting him there?” Dylan asked, though Charlotte shook her head.

    “We’ll get him there. You guys have done enough,” Charlotte said. She went to hug Abbee, before Dylan. “Dylan, I’ll be spending a week at Jon’s when I’m competing in Hoenn next. And Abbee, I’ll come see you when I’m in Unova…”

    “Looking forward to it,” Abbee said with a smile, which in and of itself surprised her, given the way the night had come to end.

    “Stay safe,” Dylan said to Charlotte, before nodding towards Chris. “Get in touch if you need help.”

    Charlotte nodded, as Abbee and Dylan called out their goodbyes to Justin. Then after that…

    “See you Chris,” Abbee called out.

    Chris, having stopped retching finally, but not wanting to get up, remained on his hands and knees, eyes teary from the vomiting. He heard Abbee and whilst he wanted to call out and apologise, he couldn’t. However instead of that being from pride, it was from shame now instead. He remained silent, unable to bring himself to look at her, as Abbee and Dylan turned down the side street, making their way towards their hotel.

    He heard Charlotte’s footsteps on the pavement, approaching he and Justin, before she spoke.

    “You empty?” Charlotte asked Chris, her tone far from impressed. Chris groaned in the affirmative, as Charlotte and Justin got under either side of him, and helped him to his feet, thankful that he had managed to avoid getting vomit on his clothes.

    As they walked, Chris teetering in and out of consciousness, Charlotte continued to speak.

    “Do you know where your hotel is?”

    Chris groaned, struggling with the effort.

    “Other side of the city,” Chris croaked, confirming Charlotte’s suspicion. She groaned, before looking across to Justin.

    “You still cool for him to crash at your place?” Charlotte asked. “I don’t particularly feel like walking him across the city…”

    “Yeah…” Justin said, though his tone didn’t seem optimistic. Whilst Chris did seem to have emptied his stomach, he wasn’t optimistic that there wouldn’t be an encore performance overnight.

    Charlotte tried to remain silent, however after ten minutes of sore shoulders carrying Chris, who couldn’t walk on his own, and the smell of vomit in his breath, she finally snapped.

    “What the hell is wrong with you?” Charlotte asked. “Honestly, what?”

    Chris remained silent, as Charlotte continued.

    “You were having a good time! Everyone was! Honestly, why did you have to start talking s**t to Dylan, and talking s**t about Jon?!” Charlotte berated, her voice rising, and her tone evident of how tired she was of Chris and the way he’d been acting. “I’ve been trying to have your back since Abbee dumped you. So has Justin. And we’ve been trying to make it a little easier for you to get to the way you were. But honestly, I gotta ask, do you enjoy being this person? Because if I’m being honest, I don’t want to be friends with you if you’re gonna keep acting like this…”

    “Charlotte,” Justin said, agreeing with her, but thinking she was being way too harsh on him, considering he was unlikely to remember this conversation the next morning anyway. “That’s enough…”

    “No, it isn’t enough!” Charlotte yelled. “He needs to wake the f**k up and realise that if he doesn’t get his s**t together, he is just going to die sad and alone!”

    “Charlotte!” Justin said loudly. “Enough!”

    Charlotte went to continue, however was stopped by the sound of sobbing coming from between her and Justin. She looked at the drunken mess that was Chris, being mostly carried between them, who was looking at the ground, tears dropping, visible in the streetlights, and sobbing pathetically to himself.

    “You went too far,” Justin said to Charlotte, though she refused to accept that.

    “What’s your deal Chris?” Charlotte asked, though her tone was far from sympathetic.

    “You think I like this?” Chris asked, his voice still slurred, and now even harder to understand through sobs. “That every time I do something like this, I don’t just hate myself a little more?”

    Charlotte was quiet, letting Chris continue.

    “I want to make things right. With Abbee, Dylan, and especially Jon. I know that I owe him…” Chris wept. “And I was so glad they came tonight, and actually were giving me a chance…”

    “So why blow it?” Charlotte asked, her tone now less accusatory, and now a mixture of pity and exasperation. “Why make b***hy remarks about Abbee and Dylan, and disrespect Jon like that?”

    “I don’t know…” Chris sobbed. “It’s like I have this sickness in me, that won’t let me just let things go, even though I know I need to. And every time I think I’m close to doing that, it just fights me, until I am just too tired to fight back, and just let it win…”

    “I think you’re telling the wrong people this…” Justin said quietly. “You should be saying this to Dylan and Abbee…”

    “Even if I could, do you think they’ll want to listen after tonight?”

    Charlotte grimaced. Part of her wanted to have one last try, to get Dylan and Abbee to meet them as soon as they could, and hear Chris out. But she knew that Chris would likely blow that opportunity, and that their patience for him would eventually reach a limit. She remembered what Dylan said about Chris.

    ”At this point, I think he needs to hit rock bottom before he can change, and I think he might have further to fall…”

    Charlotte felt sorry for Chris, purely for how much he hated himself, it becoming incredibly obvious to Charlotte and Justin. But she could see now Dylan was right. Chris has further to fall, before he can finally have what it takes to actually fix things.

    “I don’t think they’ll listen to you after tonight,” Charlotte agreed, with Justin glaring at her in protest. “But Dylan wasn’t just talking about Jon, when he said he wouldn’t give up on you…”


    Charlotte sighed.

    “Give them some space. And take some time to get your s**t together. Then try and talk to them…” Charlotte said, before figuring they were reaching the point of diminishing returns. “Come on, let’s get you into bed…”
    Last edited by [Desolate Divine]; 04-09-2023 at 09:16 AM.

  8. #117
    I came in like a wrecking ball... [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    Mar 2013
    Melbourne Australia
    And Season 3 is officially finished at 185,700 words, only slightly shorter than Season 2, however with a lower average wordcount per episode, at 12,380.

    I considered delaying Season 3's release to coincide with the commissioned artworks however they are still four weeks away (Because the delivery time on one is a week, and I ordered six, I hoped I'd start getting them by now however, it seems the ETA he gave me is for the first, not the last which is a RIP). So depending on Spiritwaters length (I estimate to be about half the length of a standard Season), I will try and release them with Spiritwater. Will see though.

    But now keen expand what we had on Spiritwater and flesh it out a little more!

  9. #118
    I came in like a wrecking ball... [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    Mar 2013
    Melbourne Australia
    Spiritwater Episode 1: Reunions

    “It’s two in the afternoon,” Jon said, his patience wearing thin…

    Latios cried out in objection.

    “It’s five o’clock in Kanto…” Jon understood Latios to be saying. “Time is a construct to control the masses…”

    “Since when were you so anti-establishment?” Jon asked, knowing the answer. “I never knew you to stick it to the man?”

    “I’ll stick it to the man when he tells me I can’t have a beer…” Latios replied verbally, Jon understanding thanks to his stint as an Altaria, three and a half years earlier.

    It was Tuesday May 25th, 2021, with the Eon Academy’s summer program due to start in a week. Abbee had arrived at the Eon Academy a few days before, having gotten more paid leave from Elesa’s gym in Nimbasa City than she was expecting, and decided to come a week earlier. Whilst she had told Jon it was to see him and Alyssa, Jon knew they made up ten percent of her reason for coming early, with the other ninety percent being in the stadium with her, training.

    Jon had seen Charlotte over New Years Eve, after she had competed in a tournament in Rustboro City two weeks earlier. She had stayed at the Academy with Jon, Alyssa, Amelia and Dylan for a few days before heading out to her next destination. Whilst Jon hadn’t seen Justin since they parted ways in Jubilife City the September before, they had kept in contact, and like Charlotte, Jon was expecting Justin to arrive on Saturday.

    Chris however was a different story. Whilst Charlotte mentioned she had battled against him at the tournament in Rustboro, and had beaten him, Jon hadn’t heard from Chris since they parted ways at Jubilife Airport the summer before. Jon had attempted to get in touch with Chris in the nine or so months since, however Chris had been avoiding Jon’s calls, and ignoring his messages. Dylan and Abbee had seen him last November, however that meeting went poorly, with Chris, having just turned eighteen, drinking too much, and saying things that Jon couldn’t convince Dylan to repeat.

    Despite the rift between them, Jon still held out hope that he might hear from Chris in the next week, wanting to come back, however knew he was probably setting himself up to be disappointed.

    Jon sat in the kitchen, with Latios hovering outside, his head through the open window. He had been asking Jon for a beer, citing the heat, and how refreshing it would be, with Jon refusing, on the basis of it being barely two in the afternoon on a Tuesday. On the small dining table in front of Jon sat a PVC card printer, hooked up to a laptop. With the summer program beginning Sunday, and a hundred and fifty people signed up for it, he wanted to be ready with all the ID cards that would double as keycards for the Eon Academy buildings, so had set aside the afternoon. Alyssa was at work in Lilycove, and Amelia was with Abbee and Dylan, watching their training session with Victini and Darkrai. Whilst Jon originally thought Darkrai may scare Amelia, she seemed to have an innate curiosity surrounding any and all things Pokemon, and Jon was yet to find one that she was more scared than curious of. Sure enough, she saw Darkrai, and was entranced by it.

    Now, Jon had what should have been his first afternoon free of distraction to get this task done, but there was a distraction he should have foreseen. Latios…

    “What if I have one now, but don’t have one tonight with dinner?” Latios said . Jon scoffed.

    “You really think you will be content not having a beer with dinner?” Jon asked, not convinced.

    “Let’s find out…”

    “Latios, I love you, really…” Jon said. “But keep this up, and I’ll put you in your Pokeball, and next time I let you out, it will be in rehab…”

    “You honestly think rehab could keep me?” Latios retorted, though Jon had enough.

    “Goodbye Latios,” Jon said as he pressed the button on Latios’ Pokeball. “Enjoy rehab…”

    Whilst Jon didn’t want Latios drinking any more than he did, he knew that Latios didn’t care as much about having an afternoon beer as he made out. Really, Latios was bored, and pestering Jon for a beer and arguing with him about it made for good entertainment. Not for the first time, Jon considered it might be time to start competing again, for Latios’ sake. Whilst Latios and all his Pokemon were kept busy during summers, outside of their weekly training session with Steven, and the odd session with Dylan, they were growing a little restless. That however, was a decision to make after summer was over, and this summer's participants had all gone home…

    The next half hour, Jon spent changing the ID card template with information and photos of those attending the Eon Academy’s summer program. The first he made were the five for his interns, Chris included, a mark of Jon’s hope that Chris would come back. The rest were all the campers coming. He changed the photo, adjusted the name and date of birth, before double checking them against the registration form, and finally printing it. Each card took approximately two minutes when he was in the rhythm of the task, and he had over a hundred and fifty to make, expecting this to take five hours.

    Search Trainer ID.

    Copy Image.

    Paste Image.

    Change Name.

    Change Date of Birth.



    Search next trainer ID while card is printing.


    The task was monotonous. The sort Jon hated, but knew he needed to complete before students arrived. He forced himself not to tune out of the task, knowing that’s when mistakes would be made. However, it was inevitable that he would eventually begin to get caught up in his own thoughts, and forget the name he printed on the last card he had produced. He was pulled from his thoughts however, by the sound of the front door opening…

    His first thought was that Dylan and Abbee had returned, however they both knew during the day, the back door that led into the kitchen was unlocked, and came through there by default. He quickly stood, readying Scizor’s Pokeball, with Scizor being the Pokemon best suited to fighting in close quarters without destroying his house.

    He stood by the doorway into the main hall, quickly poking his head around the corner. The door was ajar, ringing alarm bells in Jon’s mind. The front door was normally locked, and Alyssa’s last message had been an hour ago from work. Even if she left early, it was a two hour ferry trip back to Mossdeep. One she only made once a fortnight.

    Jon crept through the hallway, looking at the door, before looking out, to where he and Dylan’s cars were parked. Alyssa’s wasn’t there. He closed the door, locking it, before hearing the sound of something moving in the lounge. He darted into the lounge, to see it empty. However something wasn’t right. It took him a moment to see it. One of the cushions from the couch had been pulled off, and left on the floor by Amelia that morning while she watched TV. It remained on the floor, however with a small smear of dirt across it, as if something like a dirty boot rubbed against it as the wearer walked past, very recently.

    The lounge was connected by a doorway to the kitchen, which was a cosy room. A bench jutted out into the room itself, dividing it into a dining area and food preparation area, and Jon could hear something moving behind the island. Something big.

    “I know you’re hiding there,” Jon called out the person he imagined hiding behind the island. The sound of movement stopped, as whoever hid behind the bench stopped moving. “Come out now, or I get my Scizor to play bouncer…”

    “One…” Jon called out, using the same tactic he did with Amelia when she wouldn’t go to bed. “Two…”

    There was the sound of movement again, and Jon readied Scizor’s Pokeball, half expecting someone to be attempting a surprise attack. However he was shocked when no person emerged from behind the counter. Instead of one big form, it was three smaller forms. An Eevee, a Furret, and a Buneary…

    Jon’s eyes widened as he realised who he was looking at.

    “Were you seriously going to set Scizor on us?” the Eevee said, sounding far from impressed. “I still hurt when I remember what it did to Victini…”

    “I thought I had some psycho creeping around my house!” Jon said, though the answer wasn’t satisfactory.

    “We had to make sure you were alone in here,” the Furret interjected. “Cass recognized your car, but not the other one, and didn’t think it would be Alyssa’s…”

    “Nobody else is in the house,” Jon said. “But why are you here?”

    “Hello to you too,” the Buneary retorted indignantly. “It’s only been four years, most of that with no contact! We could have been dead for all you knew, and we don’t even get a stinking hello?”

    “Where was your hello?” Jon asked, and the Buneary was silent…

    “Well… We were trying to be inconspicuous until we knew there weren’t any strangers in here…” the Buneary tried to explain, though the Eevee was growing impatient.

    “Jarena, now isn’t the time,” the Eevee said. “Can we talk somewhere, where we won’t be interrupted?”

    Jon nodded, gesturing towards the lounge.

    “Nobody else will be here for at least another hour,” Jon said. “We’ll talk in the lounge…”

    Unsure of what these Pokemon ate in their day to day lives, Jon got a bowl of water, as well as some fruit, placing it on the coffee table, and the trio of Pokemon jumped up. Jon watched in disbelief as the three of them quickly had something to eat and drink, Jon knowing they had travelled a long way.

    Whilst Jon figured this Tuesday in particular would be mundane and ordinary, he never would have predicted he’d be visited out of nowhere by Cassandra, Violet and Jarena, the presumed dead, former Diamond Ladies…

    When they seemed content, Jon spoke.

    “So why are you here?” Jon asked. “When Cass helped me with Rayquaza, she made it abundantly clear you guys were happy being Pokemon…”

    “We are,” Violet answered. “But something happened, and it doesn’t look good…”

    Jon’s brow furrowed. If something happened that was enough to draw Cassandra, Violet and Jarena out of hiding all the way to Mossdeep, he figured it doesn’t look good was going to be an understatement…

    “Two weeks ago, we all had this dream,” Cassandra explained. “The same dream, at the same time…”

    “It was of Agatha, the former Elite Four member…” Jarena continued.

    “Agatha?” Jon asked. “The one who was forced to retire because of her age? Right after the S.S. Wishmaker incident?”

    “That’s her,” Violet answered. “The ghost specialist…”

    “But it turns out, she is a specialist in more than just ghosts,” Cassandra explained. “It takes powerful shadowcraft to make a vision like that, which can reach as far as hers did, or as many people…”

    “Wait, you weren’t the only ones?” Jon asked, confused where this was going. Jarena nodded.

    “The vision was a call to rally for all shadowcraft users…” Jarena explained. “At the end of June, to meet on Akala Island in Alola for the Spiritwater Festival.”

    Jon had heard of the Spiritwater Festival only recently. As a former High Seas Champion, especially one who had achieved as much as he had since, he was offered complimentary tickets to this year's High Seas Tournament, which would end this year with the S.S. Wishmaker docking on Akala Island, for the Spiritwater Festival.

    “Why does she want to gather so many of you?” Jon asked, and Violet answered, her tone far from optimistic.

    “She promised to strengthen them in their power and knowledge of Shadowcraft,” Violet answered. “The thing is, if fulfilling that promise wasn’t going to come at some sort of cost, I doubt she would have used such an indirect way to reach out…”

    Violet was right. Shadowcraft, whilst socially a taboo, was not illegal in and of itself, and had grown in popularity the last few years. Using it to harm someone was no more illegal than simple assault, just as using it to cheat in tournaments like the Diamond Ladies had, was simply just fraud in itself. The only difference the revelation of it made, was that people now knew it existed and could actually be aware of the effect it may have.

    “And if she is using the promise of power to draw them in,” Cassandra said. “She will be attracting the worst kinds of Shadowcraft wielders…”

    Jon nodded in agreement. Agatha was up to something nefarious. He had little doubt of that. He looked to his unexpected visitors.

    “I’ll inform Steven, and make sure he keeps your involvement out of it,” Jon said. “He can mobilise the League, and they can handle this…”

    Jon looked around the house, before speaking again.

    “You’re welcome to stay here and recover from the trip before you head back to Johto,” Jon explained. “Though there’ll be a hundred and fifty teenagers on the property as of Sunday, which could make it hard to remain inconspicuous in.

    There was silence between the three Pokemon, before Cassandra spoke.

    “Jon, I don’t think you understand. We have a really bad feeling about this,” Cassandra explained. “This isn’t looking like it’s gonna be a few people made dizzy, or turned into Pokemon. I think that this is going to be a war…”

    Jon’s eyes widened a little hearing that. She was right, he had mistaken the severity of it, seeing it as the three of them offering a tip off for a potential witch problem as their due diligence, before being on their way, back to their lives as Pokemon. Any doubt in the severity of the situation Jon may have had, disappeared, when Cassandra asked her next question.

    “Do you still have our DNA samples?”

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****

    “Steven’s on his way here now…” Jon said, as he entered the lounge, where the former Diamond Ladies, now in their reverted human forms, sat, seeming to be unused to being human again.

    “So you never told us where you got our old clothes…” Violet said, while Jarena put a hairbrush through her somewhat matted hair, and Jon couldn’t help but grin. However, before he could answer, Cassandra cut him off.

    “Don’t ask…” Cassandra said, her voice showing how much she meant it. “You don’t want to know… Trust me…”

    Jarena looked between Violet, Cassandra and Jon, trying to figure out how Jon got them, before realising she probably should take Cassandra’s word for it. She shrugged, as she continued brushing her brunette hair.

    “So where’s Alyssa?” Violet asked.

    “At work,” Jon explained. “She takes the ferry into Lilycove one day a fortnight, and works from home the rest of the time so she can keep an eye on Lili…”

    At the reference to Lili, Jon saw blank stares from all three, before realising.

    “S**t, I haven’t seen you guys since before Lili was born,” Jon said, before clarifying. “My daughter. Amelia. She just turned three…”

    “I guess we’re a little late in offering congratulations…” Jarena said with a weak smile. “Is she with Alyssa?”

    “No, she’s with Dylan and Abbee,” Jon began before realising he was making the same mistake. “Two of my interns. They’re in the stadium training…”

    Hearing this, Jon realised there was another miscommunication, as all three of his guest’s eyes widened.

    “You said that there was nobody else here?” Violet said, her tone suspicious.

    “Yeah, nobody else in the house…” Jon clarified. “Abbee, Dylan and Lili are all in the stadium. They’ll be coming back soon…”

    “Jon, we can’t be seen by your workers…” Cassandra said, shocked at how seemingly careless Jon was being.

    “They’re not just my workers, they’ve been my students from day one. I trust them with my life…”

    You trust them,” Violet corrected. “We don’t know them…”

    “You can trust them,” Jon said, his tone leaving it not up for discussion. “Two years ago, I was off the island and Abbee, Dylan, and the other three interns, who I trust just as much as them, were keeping the place running while I had to go to Slateport. The one weekend I was gone, and a Legendary Pokemon attacked the island, nearly wiping it out. The five of them kept it at bay and caught it-”

    “Sure, they’re talented, but that doesn’t mean they won’t tell anyone about us being here!” Jarena objected.

    “The five of them kept it at bay and caught it, while Dylan kept Rayquaza in its Pokeball,” Jon explained. “He is my second in charge here, and he knows everything about Rayquaza. When Deoxys attacked the island, Alyssa gave him Rayquaza’s Pokeball, and told him he was in charge of the evacuation. Dylan led the others to fight tooth and nail to beat and catch this Pokemon, refusing to use Rayquaza until he had absolutely no other choice, because he knew Rayquaza needed to be kept a secret for my sake. And he succeeded…”

    Cassandra couldn’t help but take Jon’s word for it, hearing that. His tone left no room for mistaking just how dangerous the situation was, and Dylan had kept Jon’s secret even in the face of that.

    “Fine, Dylan seems trustworthy. I can’t argue with that…” Cassandra said. “What about the other one?”

    “Abbee?” Jon asked. “Well she has been Victini’s trainer for nearly three years, so if you can’t take my word for it that she can be trusted, take his…”

    Cassandra’s eyes widened at Jon’s revelation. Not the fact that Victini had found another trainer, but something even simpler.

    “Victini is here?”

    Jon nodded.

    “In the stadium…” Jon explained. “I was that surprised to have you three show up and tell me Agatha is bringing about the apocalypse, that it slipped my mind…”

    Cassandra leapt to her feet, before darting for the door.

    “Cass wait!” Violet called out, to no avail, before following her. Jarena glanced at Jon, shrugging before following after the pair.

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****

    “Victini, V-Create!”

    Cassandra heard the unfamiliar voice, as she stepped into the doorway of the stadium. On one side stood a girl who looked to be eighteen, with straight, black hair that hung to just below her shoulders, and determined green eyes. Opposite her stood a guy in his early twenties, who was tall and well built, with shaggy brown hair, standing behind a Pokemon she had never seen before.

    Victini cried out, before encasing itself in a crown of flames, and rocketing towards the Pokemon, and Cassandra was proud to see the flames burning much more fiercely than when she had battled alongside Victini on the S.S. Wishmaker.

    Standing behind the girl that Cassandra presumed to be Abbee, holding on to her jeans, was a toddler, with shoulder length fair hair, and curious eyes, grey like Jon’s. She watched Victini in awe, however seemed to notice before anyone else that they had company. She tugged at Abbee’s jeans, causing her to look down, then towards the entrance where Cassandra, Violet, and Jarena watched.

    “Can I help you?” Abbee asked, her voice friendly, although somewhat suspicious of the three. They didn't blame her. Dylan looked over, and the Diamond Ladies could see in both trainers, a sense of recognition that was moments away from registering to them. Before that however, Victini looked over, his eyes widening immensely, before beginning to tear up.

    “Cass?!” he called out verbally, neither Dylan nor Abbee understanding, before darting towards them. Cassandra stepped forward, kneeling down to meet Victini at ground level, and it wasn’t until then that Abbee and Dylan realised who had just entered the stadium…

    “Holy s**t…” Abbee muttered, before realising Amelia was listening, and wincing at her loss of composure. She walked towards the visitors, Dylan joining her, as Victini enjoyed his tearful reunion with his former trainer.

    “What are you doing here?” Victini asked. “All of you? Why aren’t you in Johto? And why are you all human?”

    “Something came up, and we wanted to let Jon know,” Cassandra said to Victini. “We’ve been here for nearly an hour and Jon only just told us you were here…”

    Abbee arrived to hear Cassandra’s last words, before speaking herself.

    “Miss Silvers?” Abbee asked, wanting to confirm what she was already near certain of. Cassandra looked up, seeing Abbee, with Amelia behind her, still clutching at her jeans. Whilst Amelia was curiously confident around Pokemon, she was a little on the timid side with people she didn’t know.

    “Cassandra,” Cassandra replied, cringing a little as she was reminded of her Miss Silvers outburst on the S.S. Wishmaker that was hardly her first. “I take it you’re Abbee?”

    Abbee nodded, unsure of how to respond. Based on what she had heard of Cassandra from Jon and Victini, she knew Cassandra had not been planning on becoming human again. And given what she had just said, about something coming up and wanting to let Jon know, she didn’t have a good feeling. Though, the more she thought about it she wasn’t sure if that not-so-good feeling was what she was telling herself it was, or something else. She looked at Victini, who looked up at Cassandra in ecstatic disbelief, and felt a pang of jealousy, before a wave of guilt at said jealousy.

    “Thanks for taking such good care of Victini,” Cassandra said. “I know he can be a bit of a handful…”

    “So he was a fiend for ice-cream when you had him?” Abbee joked, trying to mask her feelings, and earning a grin from Cassandra. “And chose to ignore polite boundaries when it came to his telepathy?”

    “Ice-cream, definitely. He’d have eaten himself into a diabetic coma if I had no say in the matter,” Cassandra explained. “But he wasn’t overly chatty with other people when we were together. He tended to keep to himself a little more, though it has probably been good for him, being around more trainers and Pokemon…”

    He is right here…” Victini chimed in, this time telepathically to include Abbee and Dylan in the conversation, a little indignant that he was the subject of a conversation that he wasn’t necessarily a part of, when he was present.

    “The adults are talking Victini,” Dylan said patronisingly, though Victini knew that it was all in jest. Dylan looked from Victini to their surprise visitors. “I’m Dylan. What’s come up that’s brought you out of hiding?”

    Violet went to answer, however Jarena nudged her quickly before nodding to the toddler who hid behind Abbee, who she presumed to be Amelia, Jon’s daughter.

    “Maybe don’t bring up a potential apocalypse in front of her…” Jarena said quietly, and Violet realised she was right, before nodding.

    “We just filled Jon in, and Steven is on his way here,” Violet explained. “Maybe we should discuss it at the house…”

    Cassandra looked somewhat uneasily at Violet, not sure that Dylan and Abbee should know everything, however Violet disregarded it. Fact was that whilst Steven had proven himself to be trustworthy after the incident with Rayquaza, both in his keeping their existence a secret, but also working to protect the Starglade, which had made their roles notably easier since, they had intentionally come to Jon first for a reason. And if things played out the way they wanted, Abbee and Dylan, as well as Jon’s other workers, may be running the summer program without him…

    Dylan, having seen the exchange between Violet and Jarena, understood why, and led the way back towards the house. Abbee was the last to leave, watching Victini walk alongside Cassandra, speaking verbally, which she knew Cassandra could understand, but not herself.

    “Why is Victini with her?” said a small voice from next to her.

    Abbee looked down to see Amelia looking at the pair as they walked away.

    “She was friends with Victini before you were born,” Abbee explained. “He hasn’t seen her in a while, and is just happy to see her again…”

    She held out her hand for Amelia to grab onto, before joining the group that were walking towards the stadium entry, though found herself not necessarily believing what she had just said herself….

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****
    “Jon has filled me in,” Steven said, as the seven adults sat on various couches and chairs in the now cramped lounge of Jon and Alyssa’s house. Victini sat on the coffee table, whilst Latios kept Amelia company in another room, telepathically linked to Jon, so Latios himself could be a part of the conversation, and Jon could see Amelia through his sight sharing. Whilst Jon was now used to the phenomenon enough that he could see through Latios’ eyes whilst retaining his own sense of sight, he did this by not letting his focus be drawn to either vision, resulting in a few instances of him seeming to be staring into space, or staring dumbfounded directly at someone, until he explained himself.

    “I’m glad you have let us know,” Steven continued. “Agatha didn’t take it well when she was stood down. Especially since she was hoping to take Lance’s place as Indigo Champion after his arrest. Had we known she was capable of using Shadowcraft, we would have kept a closer eye on her, given her bitterness about retiring…”

    Cassandra nodded in agreement.

    “Honestly, everything about this makes my skin crawl,” Cassandra answered. “I know we caused enough problems, only having known how to use Shadowcraft for less than a decade. But I get the feeling if Agatha hasn’t been caught, she isn’t a novice. Chances are she has been practising Shadowcraft for decades…”

    Steven nodded gravely, as Violet interjected.

    “So what happens next?” Violet asked. Of the three, she was the most forward thinking, albeit that came from a slight pessimism and years in the spotlight spent looking over her shoulder. Whilst Jarena was more likely to consider how things were at present, and Cassandra would consider more how they got to where they were, Violet tended to focus more on ’what next?’

    “I’ll reach out to Cynthia, as well as my superiors in the Hoenn Government, while Cynthia does the same in Sinnoh. I’ll also get support from the Kanto and Johto Governments, since Agatha was a member of their Elite Four, and the Alolan Government, since this is happening under their noses,” Steven answered. “From there, we will begin an operation, similar to the one that we launched into you three…”

    “Minus Lance,” Cassandra said, though there was no hint of a question. Steven nodded in agreement.

    “Minus Lance…” Steven agreed. “I’ll call on a few people from the S.S. Wishmaker, as well as some contacts I have made since…”

    “Anyone we know?” Jarena asked Steven, and he nodded.

    “Jimmy Kendo and Avery Miller,” Steven said, though noticed a concerned look cross Jon’s face.

    “I don’t know that that would be a good idea…” Jon interjected. “After things got thrown into disarray with Lance leaking information to the media, and we finally seemed like we just needed to get through the cruise, Jirachi almost made everything worse…”

    “Jirachi was young,” Jarena said, a little irritated that Jon still held suspicions against the Pokemon. “And don’t forget, Latios left more holes in the ship than there were days at sea…”

    “Latios followed my orders to the letter. I was the one who told him to get your backpacks after you turned each other into Pokemon, no matter what it took…” Jon said evenly. “If you’re going to blame anyone for the holes in the ship, blame me…”

    Cassandra shifted uncomfortably hearing the disagreement between Jon and Jarena. Whilst she did like Jirachi, she also respected Jon, especially after their trip to Sky Pillar years earlier. She was thankful when Steven ended this discussion, his tone indicating this wasn’t up for debate.

    “Jimmy Kendo has been an operative for us on numerous other operations over the last four years, with Jirachi being one of the key tools at his disposal,” Steven explained. “Jirachi is still a little immature, however follows Jimmy’s orders…”

    “Look, it’s your call whether to include them in this. You know where I stand,” Jon explained. “I’m not going to bulls**t myself by trying to think I can change your mind. But if anything bad happens at Jirachi’s hands, it’s your responsibility.”

    “Same goes for if something good happens,” Steven retorted. Jon shrugged.

    “You think I’m that childish to not give you credit where credit’s due?” Jon joked. Steven shrugged it off, and the banter was cut short by Dylan interjecting.

    “You said no to approaching Avery Miller,” Dylan noted. “I thought you held a lot of respect for them…”

    “I do,” Jon said. “And if this were a month earlier or later, I’d be saying call them…”

    “Why not now?” Violet asked, wondering why Jon was against asking Avery.

    “They’re getting married the weekend before the S.S. Wishmaker departs, and it seems like all of this s**t Agatha has planned will come to fruition during the Spiritwater Festival the week after,” Jon explained. “You really want to call on Avery and tell them to postpone their wedding?”

    “No…” Cassandra said in agreement. “Let them have this…”

    Jon nodded, as Violet continued.

    “Okay, so we have us three incognito of course, Jimmy and Jirachi, and Jon…” Violet said, more so to process the information herself, however to everyone’s surprise, Jon shook his head.

    “Jon, surely you’ll come to Alola?” Steven asked, struggling to hide the shock in his voice.

    “You can’t seriously be sitting this out to run a summer camp,” Violet added. “This could be apocalypse level s**t going down! Let Dylan, Abbee and the others run camp!”

    “It’s not that,” Jon answered. “Think about it. It’s common knowledge I was involved in the investigation into you three. I revealed that, when I said on TV that you three had earned my respect, and part of that was because I said that the S.S. Wishmaker was my last operation…”

    “That was before we knew about Agatha…” Cassandra answered, disappointed in Jon for refusing. Jon shook his head.

    “Every summer since the S.S. Wishmaker, I have run the program here, and it’s been quite public. Now, Agatha has just gone and sent out an open invite to all Shadowcraft users to meet her on Akala Island,” Jon said, as Steven realised where Jon was going. “Now out of nowhere, Steven and Cynthia, two of the most famous people in the world, will happen to be on Akala Island for when Agatha’s little party begins, and for the first time, I have not attended my own summer program in order to be there as well. Three famous trainers, all involved in a previous sting, happen to show up where Agatha has something planned…”

    “You’re not wrong…” Steven said with a sigh. “If you do go, it could tip her off that we know she is planning something and are investigating her…”

    Cassandra realised that Jon was right. If he stayed in Mossdeep as if nothing were happening, it would help their chances of being undiscovered in Alola.

    “I want to be there, really,” Jon said. “If something big happens, and I didn’t do anything to stop it, I’d hate myself for it. But I also know that me being there in the front line puts you four, and any other operatives at risk.”

    “What if you were to not be in the front line?”

    Jon looked at Steven, puzzled by his question.

    “I’m a battler. If we are going up against a former Elite Four member, my talents are best suited in the front line…” Jon answered, though Steven shook his head.

    “On the S.S. Wishmaker, you weren’t in the front line until these guys slipped up and turned themselves into Pokemon. You had Latios tail them and figure out that they were using Shadowcraft, then had Latios grab their belongings, all while you were in the arena, supposedly training for that evening. After that, you were in the front line,” Steven explained. “Let’s say I give you a squad to oversee. A mixture of more covert operatives, as well as some who are more suited to battling. You remain anonymous until the endgame, giving orders and planning ahead like you did on the S.S. Wishmaker, then surfacing, alongside Latios and Rayquaza when secrecy can be damned and we have a fight on our hands…”

    “That could work,” Jon said. “But Charlotte, Justin, Abbee and Dylan can’t convince a hundred and fifty kids that I am here with none of them seeing me for a few weeks. Even if we weren’t short an intern. It would get out within a week that I wasn’t at the Academy…”

    “Then we cancel the summer program…”

    To everyone’s surprise, it was Dylan who suggested it, his expression remaining neutral.

    “Wouldn’t that be even more suspicious?” Jarena asked. “Jon cancels the summer program for the first time, a week before it’s due to start, and then decides to take a leisurely trip to Alola?”

    “Not if we play our cards right…” Dylan explained. “Let’s say we told everyone that a swarm of Rotom got loose in the property’s electrical grid. Fried everything. Lights, appliances, outlets, the works. Jon can’t safely keep kids on site…”

    “A swarm of Rotom?” Cassandra asked, finding the excuse to be a little flimsy.

    “Doesn’t have to be that, but effectively the property is damaged to the point where one, it is not safe to run the summer program, and two, it is too expensive and time consuming to fix before students arrive,” Dylan explained, before looking to Jon. “Are the organisers of the High Seas Tournament still pestering you to make a guest appearance? Sending the free tickets and s**t?”

    Jon nodded. Whilst he understood Cassandra’s concern, he also knew Dylan well enough to know this plan was worth listening to.

    “After the property is damaged, you get in touch with them, and offer to do whatever media appearances on the S.S. Wishmaker they are after, for a large sum of cash, which will be so you can do the repairs to the Academy,” Dylan explained. “It gives you a pretty strong alibi for being away from the Academy. And it means I can come with you…”

    “Wait, what?”

    “Steven’s giving you a squad made up of people who are good behind the scenes, and those who can handle themselves in a fight…” Dylan explained. “I’m not the best battler by any means, but I can help out behind the scenes, and I am less likely to be recognized than you…”

    “And if Dylan and I come with you, it adds to the story of you being there to fund the repairs to the Eon Academy,” Abbee added in, though choosing not to argue Dylan’s statement about his battling prowess. “Surely nobody would suspect you’ve recruited your students to be operatives with you…”

    “Surely they wouldn’t, because I’m not,” Jon said to the pair of them. “Agatha is dangerous-”

    “All the more reason we should be there to back you up,” Dylan interrupted. “If Charlotte and Justin were here, they’d agree…”

    “Jon, they both raise pretty valid points…” Steven noted. “You want people in your squad you can trust? I don’t think you’ll get any better than your interns. And Abbee is right. You going on the S.S. Wishmaker alone will be a little suspicious. But bringing them will add to the cover-up Dylan has proposed…”

    “Abbee’s barely eighteen!” Jon protested, Abbee flushing red with the embarrassment of being pointed out to be barely an adult.

    “You were barely Dylan’s age when I recruited you…” Steven said calmly. “And both of them are far better trainers than you were at their age…”

    Jon couldn’t argue with that. He would happily say all of his interns are stronger now than he was when he took the High Seas Champion title.

    “Jon, we could really use you there,” Steven said. “All three of you really, but you especially, and Dylan and Abbee coming will make it easier for you to not draw suspicions…”

    Jon was quiet, knowing that Steven was right. All present watched on the edge, when he finally answered.

    “Look, I want to come, and you’re right. We can make it work,” Jon said, though didn’t want to get their hopes up. “But I need to speak to Alyssa about all of this. We’ve got Lili now, and this sounds like the most dangerous operation you’ve asked from me to date…”

    Steven nodded, content with Jon’s answer. Cassandra however realised something.

    “If the three of us are going to Alola, we need to be prepared,” Cassandra said. “Just like you two and Cynthia being in the same place would draw attention, the three of us being seen together will likely draw attention as well…”

    “You’re not wrong,” Steven said. “Especially given that it is right around the anniversary of the S.S. Wishmaker incident…”

    “You can’t be saying we split up?” Violet asked, and breathed a sigh of relief when Cassandra shook her head.

    “We stick together, but that means we gotta cover ourselves completely,” Cassandra said, before looking back towards Steven. “Think you could get us some fake identities?”

    “I can arrange that,” Steven answered. “But will that be enough?”

    Cassandra shook her head.

    “Honestly, we’re in the same boat as Jon. If we’re noticed, it raises a lot of questions. So think of us less as operatives, and more as Shadowcraft advisors,” Cassandra explained. “We will generally stay at HQ, and try to make a point of not leaving the building together. We’ll make our own way to Akala, avoiding the S.S. Wishmaker, and avoiding notice. Fake names and IDs will be enough to convince someone who thinks one of us may be familiar that we aren’t who they think we are.”

    “It wouldn’t be enough to prevent the three of us together being noticed,” Violet agreed. “But if I duck out on my own to buy lunch, and the person serving me thinks I’m familiar, I have something to hopefully cover myself…”

    “It also means that we don’t have to tell everyone involved in the operation that we’re alive…” Jarena said solemnly. “Other than Dylan and Abbee, nobody new has found out we are alive. The only people who know are everyone in this room, Cynthia, Alyssa and Jimmy…”

    “You’ve seen Kendo?” Jon asked, somewhat surprised, and intentionally not telling them that Chris and Charlotte both knew they were alive as well.

    “He wandered into the Starglade as a Pikachu, with a head injury,” Cassandra said, before reiterating. “An accidental, self-inflicted head injury. He was struggling to recall anything, so we healed him and he went on his way…”

    Jon raised his hands in a placating gesture, knowing Cassandra’s reiteration was to cease any suspicions of Jirachi that Jon may be brewing.

    “Point being, that once we have fake IDs, we can remain hidden from the rest of the operatives, and the story can be that we were just trying to do our due diligence, and approached Steven…” Jarena explained. “That way, if we play our cards right, when this is over, we can go back, and not have to worry about word spreading further about us…”

    “Beyond individual aliases, a group alias would be beneficial as well,” Steven explained. “For logistical purposes, I think our best bet is to assign you three to your own squad. Very few operatives operate outside of a squad, and if operatives found out the three of you were independent of any squad in this operation, it would raise questions as to why. Jimmy Kendo is a good example, due to Jirachi being a one Pokemon squad himself. If Jon weren’t leading a squad, he’d be an independent as well.”

    “So what, we’re going to be our own squad of three?” Violet asked, to which Steven replied with a nod.

    “In that case, we’ll figure out our aliases soon, but for this,” Cassandra said, taking charge, like she did in their Diamond Ladies days. “Call us Triad…”

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****

    Steven had left not too long after the conception of Triad, knowing that there was little more they could come up with until Steven had made all the calls he needed to make, and Jon had spoken to Alyssa about joining the operation as the commander of his own squad. Eon Squad.

    Jon, not having had the chance to do so before the meeting with Steven, went to Amelia’s room, where Latios was keeping her entertained, watching Super Sylveon Smile Squad with her, though Jon knew Latios secretly liked the show. Picking up Amelia, he walked out into the lounge, where Triad had been talking and sat down.

    “Everyone, this is my daughter, Lili,” Jon said, as Amelia looked anxiously between the three new faces. Amelia did seem to be more anxious around people than Pokemon, and Jon had an idea.

    “Lili,” Jon said to Amelia, who looked at him. “This is Eevee, Buneary and Furret…”

    Violet rolled her eyes slightly, figuring that Jon was being a smarta**, whilst Jarena couldn’t help but grin, especially when Amelia seemed to relax nearly immediately after having them introduced that way. Cassandra however realised there was more to it than that. Jon wanted to introduce them to his daughter, but knowing the need for secrets, had found a way to tell her, and be truthful, without telling his three year old daughter something that they didn’t want her repeating in front of other people, and giving away their identities.

    “It’s nice to meet you Lili,” Cassandra said, trying to sound friendly and welcoming, and holding out a hand. “We’ve known your mum and dad since before you were born…”

    "Latios too?" Amelia asked, unable to hide the curiosity in her voice, as she cautiously took it.

    "Latios especially…" Violet answered, forcing the dryness from her tone so as to not potentially have Amelia think she disliked her. Jarena choked back a laugh at the statement.

    Alyssa returned home in the early hours of the evening, before practically tackling their three unexpected guests in a hug, expressing how thankful she was the three of them were okay, however not knowing details of why they had arrived. Whilst Jon had told her, somewhat cryptically over the phone they had three guests who he was not expecting to see, he hadn’t even tried to explain why, on the very slim chance his phone had been tapped. They explained to Alyssa why they had come to see Jon, before Jon and Alyssa went to another room, leaving Amelia with Abbee and Dylan, so Jon could talk to her about joining the mission in Alola.

    After an hour of discussing, Jon returned, informing those present that he had Alyssa’s blessing to join them. Whilst Alyssa didn’t want to stop him, knowing that whilst this was dangerous, his presence there could be the difference between the mission being a success or a failure, and with the stakes as high as they potentially were, if the mission failed, he was hardly going to be any safer in Mossdeep than in Alola. However, she wanted to make sure that Jon was asking her blessing whilst understanding completely the ramifications of anything happening to him. She wanted to know he wasn't just viewing this as a chance to relive his younger, glory days as an operative, and actually was going because he would be needed there.

    Whilst they had no idea what Agatha was planning, they weren’t going to make the mistake of underestimating just how dangerous she was. They had made that mistake with the Diamond Ladies, and nearly had a half dozen people doomed to spend the rest of their natural lives as Pokemon. The same mistake had been made with Lance, underestimating just how far he would go to restore his damaged pride, and Jon and his interns had won many battles by letting their opponents underestimate them.

    Jon showed the Diamond Ladies to the lodge, where they would spend the next few days as they prepared for their own separate trip to Alola, planning on setting up there before the main force of operatives arrived over the next few weeks. Dylan and Abbee had their own rooms, which had been their rooms in previous summers, and were practically home to them, whilst Cassandra moved into Chris’ old room, Violet into Justin’s and Jarena into Charlotte’s.

    That evening, when everyone was settled, Jon left the property, driving to Steven’s house. In light of what was to come, he needed a few favours from Steven, some somewhat unrelated to the mission. When he arrived, he knocked on the door, and Steven opened it, holding a phone to his ear in one hand, that looked to be outdated by a factor of fifteen years. He didn’t seem surprised to see Jon, quickly letting him inside as he continued the phone call.

    Steven lived in a modest home, contrary to his very high ranking title, and the fact he was the heir to one of the wealthiest companies in Hoenn. This surprised most people at first, as well as his modest car, that seemed to be one of the most common in Hoenn. Jon knew that like himself, Steven wasn’t too fussed about living lavishly, instead, using the bulk of his income to fund life after he decided to step down from being Hoenn Champion. Whilst he did opt to spend a little more on things such as his car, or appliances, it was usually not in the reason of excess or glamour, but simply the quality, and the prospect of going longer without needing to replace it. Steven did have a passion for collecting minerals, and had quite an impressive collection, however showed restraint in his collecting, buying far less than he could actually afford to buy, figuring the more he saves now, the sooner he can retire, and spend his days living a life of leisure. Until then however, he had responsibilities, such as overseeing an operation to catch Agatha before she caused trouble…

    Jon found his way to the comfortable kitchen, sitting at the table which was covered in loose pieces of paper, freshly printed, and folders, next to a large, yet slim laptop. The papers were a mixture of files on Agatha, her Pokemon, known associates, and Akala Island itself. Additionally, there were pieces of paper that Jon recognized as handwritten notes by Steven, likely while he was on one of his numerous phone calls, taking note of important things, and linking individual pieces of this operation together visually to comprehend it a little more.

    Steven ended the phone call, before entering the kitchen, grabbing two beers from the fridge, and handing Jon one, before getting the bottle opener. There was no need to ask at this point. Most evening meetings between Jon and Steven, both professional and social, involved a beer, and given the weight of that day's news, they both appreciated it.

    “I spoke to Alyssa,” Jon said. “I’m coming on the mission…”

    “I figured you would,” Steven answered. “But you have other reasons for coming all the way here…”

    Jon nodded. He could have vaguely notified Steven with a phone call along the lines of ’I’m in, however there were some things he wanted from Steven before the mission.

    “Got a few things I want from you,” Jon explained. “Firstly, I have someone I want specifically on my squad, that Cynthia should be able to recruit.”

    “And that is?”

    “Peter Miller,” Jon explained. Steven nodded, appreciating Jon’s thinking.

    When Steven had been detained by the military to prevent him from interfering with their plan to catch Rayquaza, Cynthia sought the help of a computer expert in the Sinnoh League by the name of Peter Miller. Whilst he was a systems engineer for the League, he had spent his university years hacking, and Cynthia was aware of his talents. He had been the one to find the security footage of Steven being detained, and create a means of contact between her and Steven, in addition to the window for him to escape through to meet Jon and Cassandra, and brief them about the mission. And since then, Peter had been planting false sightings of Rayquaza in the Pokemon League’s database, in order to keep the attention away from Hoenn.

    “I was thinking of recruiting him to work directly under me,” Steven noted, before considering it.

    “I’ll be directly under you, and you’ll still be able to give him orders,” Jon explained. “But having someone like that in my squad, especially since we’re going to be a hybrid of recon and assault, will be great…”

    “It definitely would be,” Steven said, before nodding. “He can join Eon Squad…”

    Jon hadn’t shared the idea for his squad’s name with Steven yet, however grinned as Steven, who knew him too well, had predicted his actions perfectly.

    “Additionally, I want Peter to start flagging Rayquaza as being seen migrating towards Alola,” Jon explained. “Rayquaza is more than safe to be around other people and Pokemon if I’m there to keep it in line, and if the s**t hits the fan, I don’t want to be avoiding using Rayquaza, like Dylan did against Deoxys…”

    “So what, you’ll officially capture it in Alola?”

    “That’s the plan,” Jon said with a shrug. “I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to arise for me to do this for a year or two now. Before last summer, Hill was watching me too closely. And every time I have left Hoenn since he was sacked, it either was too short notice to create a convincing trail for Rayquaza to be there, or Rayquaza was supposedly too far away from where I was going.”

    “That, and God help you if you get caught trying to smuggle an unregistered Pokeball onto a plane…” Steven remarked, as Jon nodded.

    “Exactly. This is the best opportunity I have to not have to keep Rayquaza a secret, and if things go as s**t as we think they will be, I’ll need that…”

    “So what else?” Steven asked.

    “Two more things,” Jon said, as Steven sighed in feign exasperation. “I want to use your secure line to make a phone call, but before I do that, I want to look someone up in the League Database…”

    Knowing that Jon wouldn’t be asking if it wasn’t important, Steven obliged, opening a window on his laptop before sliding it across the table to Jon. Jon nodded his thanks, before searching a trainer, specifically, where they were registered to compete, and where their Pokeballs had been scanned by healing machines, security scanners and other such devices. When he had an idea, he dialled the number into Steven’s secure line phone.

    ”Hello, Charlotte speaking…”

    Her voice sounded confused, Jon figuring it being an unfamiliar number phone number, and likely one that looked different to any she had seen calling her.

    “Charlotte, it’s Jon,” Jon said. “You got a minute to talk, where we won’t be overheard?”

    Charlotte spent a minute walking through her house, going to her own room, before speaking quietly.

    ”Jon, what’s going on?” Charlotte asked, concern evident in her voice. ”Why are you calling on this number?”

    ”It’s a secure line,” Jon answered. “Near impossible for anyone to listen in on…”

    ”Why do you need a secure line?”

    “Something’s come up, and we’ve had to cancel the summer program…” Jon said, continuing quickly before Charlotte could object. “Something big. The League is running another operation, and I’ve been asked to join it. As have Dylan and Abbee…”

    ”What sort of operation?” Charlotte asked. Steven glanced at Jon, however figured that if someone as sceptical as Jon trusted Charlotte to keep this a secret, she could be trusted. She had kept Rayquaza a secret since finding out a year earlier, after all.

    “We received a tipoff about witchcraft, potentially a f**kload worse than the S.S. Wishmaker, and are going to investigate, and hopefully prevent any damage being done…”

    ”I’ll come too,” Charlotte interrupted. ”And I know Justin would as well…”

    “I know you guys would happily come, but I need you to do something else…” Jon said, ending that discussion.

    ”What’s that?”

    “I’m worried about Chris…”

    There was a silence, as Jon tried to figure out how to explain it.

    “Honestly, from what I have seen and heard, he is at a tipping point. One way, he grows from it, and is better off for it. The other, and he just continues to plummet…” Jon explained. “It was the same when you guys all saw him in Jubilife for his birthday, but the problem was all his wounds were still fresh, and made it hard to help him. We’re lucky he hasn’t shifted any further, and now that this long has passed, I think we might have a better chance at getting through to him…”

    ”Why now?” Charlotte asked. ”Before this mission, Justin and I would have been flying out to Hoenn in the next few days. So why do you suddenly want to try and do something about Chris now?”

    Charlotte’s question was to give Jon a chance to disprove the suspicion she had. That Jon asking something of them involving Chris was simply to make them feel like they were doing something without actually being on the mission themselves.

    “Because even if I take every precaution I can, there is a chance I might not make it back from Alola…” Jon said solemnly, as Charlotte went silent. “If this were going to be a normal summer, I’d more than likely have the opportunity to try and help Chris myself once the summer was over, and he had time to work some stuff out. But I might not make it back, and I figure if you and Justin already had set time aside to come to Mossdeep for summer, and that is now off the table, that time could be spent catching up with Chris and trying to help him work some stuff out…”

    Charlotte remained silent, not liking the fact Jon was taking on a mission that he of all people was saying could be his last, and not for the reason of retirement.

    “What do you want us to do?”

    “Chris arrived in Saffron City earlier this week,” Jon explained. “He is currently registered for a string of tournaments around Kanto, before he travels across to Johto to compete there as well…”

    “You want us to go to Johto instead and meet up with him?” Charlotte asked. Whilst the list of registrants for any tournament was only released to the public a week before the tournament itself, she figured if Jon had access to a secured line, and was working on an operation with the League, then he likely had access to Chris’ League profile as well.

    “In five weeks, he is competing in a larger tournament in Goldenrod. I want you to compete as well, and give him a good battle. One he’d enjoy,” Jon explained. “Catch up with him after, and hell, if it isn’t going to come across as you guys trying to save him see if you can stick with him for a few days after. I think it’d be good for him to have some company, and have a little bit of Academy life, without myself, Dylan and Abbee there to bring up old hurts…”

    ”I’ll go see Justin tonight,” Charlotte replied. ”Perks of him studying in Jubilife…”

    “Good. I really appreciate this,” Jon said. “Good luck…”

    ”You too Jon,” Charlotte replied. ”Come home safe. And tell Dylan and Abbee that as well. Alyssa and Lili aren’t the only ones who rely on you…”

    When the call ended, Jon handed Steven the phone, who took it, his expression crestfallen.

    “So you feel it too?” Steven asked. “That this is going to be dangerous?”

    Jon sighed.

    “Yeah, I do,” Jon said. “The S.S. Wishmaker incident was sheer dumb luck that we had no real casualties, especially considering what we were up against. But this…”

    “Not everyone who goes will come home…” Steven agreed.

    “And as selfish as it is,” Jon said, before taking a swig of his beer. “I can only hope every operative who doesn’t, isn’t currently in Mossdeep…”
    Last edited by [Desolate Divine]; 04-09-2023 at 09:45 AM.

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  11. #119
    I came in like a wrecking ball... [Desolate Divine]'s Avatar
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    Mar 2013
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    Nearly a year after it started, the Eon Academy has finally caught up to Spiritwater. Keen to flesh out this story!
    @Cutesy Lopunny
    The Diamond Ladies have returned...

    @Noblejanobii @IHOP Alolan Raichu
    Whilst not present, we have some references to Jimmy and Avery. Got some moments planned for Jimmy and Jirachi to shine. Noble, my plan currently is to not elaborate on Avery or Abital more than what you posted in Spiritwater when it was active, and simply fleshing them out. However, if you are cool with me taking some creative liberty in the sections that didn't end up happening in the RP, like I am doing with Neo and Chakra's characters, drop me a DM, and I'll give them their own moments to shine as well.

    Hope you guys enjoy it!
    Last edited by [Desolate Divine]; 03-21-2022 at 01:38 PM.

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  13. #120
    The Queen of Shaymin
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    Dec 2014
    Quote Originally Posted by [Desolate Divine] View Post
    Nearly a year after it started, the Eon Academy has finally caught up to Spiritwater. Keen to flesh out this story!
    @Cutesy Lopunny
    The Diamond Ladies have returned...

    @Noblejanobii @IHOP Alolan Raichu
    Whilst not present, we have some references to Jimmy and Avery. Got some moments planned for Jimmy and Jirachi to shine. Noble, my plan currently is to not elaborate on Avery or Abital more than what you posted in Spiritwater when it was active, and simply fleshing them out. However, if you are cool with me taking some creative liberty in the sections that didn't end up happening in the RP, like I am doing with Neo and Chakra's characters, drop me a DM, and I'll give them their own moments to shine as well.

    Hope you guys enjoy it!
    I'd absolutely be down for that!! Even if I don't comment every chapter, I've been loving this story so far. I'll shoot you a DM later today.
    / / / / / / / /
    Avatar by Soggymint
    Double Agents with Suicune's Fire

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